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Orange County Power Authority Board Votes to Set Residential Electricity Rates and Approves Expensive Benefits Plan for CEO

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On January 11th, the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) board of directors voted to set electricity rates for their future residential customers.

The electricity rates released by OCPA indicate that residential customers will pay between $4.25 and $6.38 per month more than they currently pay for energy provided by Southern California Edison (SCE). Click here to review the comparison rate schedule released by the OCPA.

Once the Power Authority officially launches — scheduled for later this year — Irvine businesses and residents will be transferred from their current provider of electricity, SCE, and automatically enrolled in the new OCPA plan.

Last year, the Irvine City Council voted to automatically enroll Irvine residents in OCPA’s tier 2 (electricity that is derived from 69.1% renewable sources), with an option to upgrade to tier 3 which is derived from 100% renewable sources.

The cities of Irvine, Huntington Beach, Fullerton and Buena Park have all signed on to participate in the OCPA, but only Irvine has agreed to fund the agency through 2022. In fact, $7.7 million of Irvine taxpayer money has already been advanced to the OCPA.

The six-member OCPA board is chaired by Irvine City Councilmember Mike Carroll. Other OCPA board members include Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, Fullerton Councilmember Fred Jung, Buena Park Councilmember Susan Sonne, Huntington Beach Councilmember Mike Posey, and Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner.

Also at the January 11th meeting, the OCPA board voted to approve an executive employee benefits program that provides 10 weeks of paid leave and a $500/month auto stipend to the agency’s CEO Brian Probolsky — a longtime political operative in County government with no energy sector experience, who was hired to run the Power Authority at an annual salary of $239,000.

In a recent Voice of OC article, OCPA Chair Mike Carroll defended Probolsky’s salary and extensive benefits package by stating: “We’re not in a typical public agency. This is not a civil service…this is about as private as a public agency can get.”

Irvine Community News & Views will continue to follow the latest developments at the OCPA … and will continue to look into how Irvine taxpayer money is being spent by the Power Authority.

ICNV Staff

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