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Isn’t it Time for Irvine to Pull the Plug on OCPA?

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For years, climate scientists have urged us to transition to greener, cleaner energy because it’s the right thing to do to protect the environment. And, clean energy has the added benefit of being cheaper. Sounds like a win-win, right?

So, why are Irvine ratepayers being forced to pay higher rates for cleaner electricity? That’s the question that Councilmember Larry Agran has been asking since he rejoined the Council in December 2020.

According to the Southern California Edison (SCE) website, Irvine residential customers are being charged, on average, $30.52 more every month by the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) for the same 100% renewable electricity that SCE provides. That means that, on average, Irvine families are now paying $366.24 more in electricity costs each year … and getting absolutely nothing for it.

Irvine businesses are also being forced to pay much more. For example, our City government — which is considered a business customer of OCPA — has been charged approximately $90,000 per month more for the same 100% renewable electricity that SCE provides Irvine business customers. The City’s electricity bill is paid by taxpayer dollars. That means that more than $1.2 million in Irvine taxpayer money has been wasted since April 2022.

It doesn’t take an accounting degree to understand that OCPA is a financial nightmare for Irvine taxpayers and electricity ratepayers!

Last December, Councilman Agran tried to get us out of the OCPA fiasco. Agran offered a motion for Irvine to give OCPA a notice of withdrawal from the agency, effective July 1, 2023. If Agran’s motion had passed, the whole OCPA disaster would be coming to an end within a matter of weeks.

Instead, Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder refused to support Agran’s motion. Their NO vote means that Irvine is stuck in OCPA for at least another year.

Here at Irvine Community News & Views, we believe that Irvine’s taxpayers and electricity ratepayers deserve to know just how much money is being wasted every second that the City of Irvine remains entangled in OCPA. To do that, we have added two digital counters along the right side of our website.

The top counter displays the extra money — cumulatively amounting to millions of dollars — that Irvine residential ratepayers have been charged since their forced enrollment in OCPA last October. The second counter displays the cumulative amount of Irvine taxpayer money that has been wasted by the City government itself since April 2022.

Residents who wish to opt-out of OCPA can do so by clicking here. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the webpage where you will see an opt-out form (located along the right side of the page). You can also call 1-866-262-7693 to opt-out by phone. NOTE: More than 31,000 Irvine residents have already opted-out of OCPA. In fact, so many residents are signing up for the SCE 100% renewable plan that there is now a waiting list.

Franklin J. Lunding

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