The Salinas Taxpayers Association is asking Monterey Bay Community Power to include organizations that represent taxpayer and ratepayer interests in any future agency community advisory committees. Below is the letter sent on October 9, 2017 to the Interim CEO of Monterey Bay Community Power.
Dear Mr. Habashi:
The Salinas Taxpayers Association has been tracking the development of the region’s new community choice aggregation agency for a couple of years. Our board even received a formal presentation about it from an official representative on August 5, 2016.
We are aware that other community choice aggregation agencies have citizen advisory committees.
Unfortunately, some of these committees have overrepresentation from organizations that do not necessarily prioritize renewable electricity supply at reasonable rates for consumers. Those committees have few or NO representatives from organizations that focus on fiscal responsibility for taxpayers and ratepayers.
We suggest the development of a community advisory committee for the agency that deliberately includes a broad, diverse range of interests, as is seen with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County Measure X Citizens Oversight Committee. I am President of that Oversight Committee (as a committee member designated by a taxpayer organization in the Salinas Valley) and believe the committee’s inclusiveness is effective and beneficial for the agency. There are 19 committee members (and 19 alternates) from many different perspectives. Committee members ask excellent questions and are encouraged to comment on each item.
Having an advisory committee with a broad, diverse range of interests ensures that leaders of many different community groups are informed about agency policies and operations. It would give them a structured forum to express support or concerns about agency proposals and practices.
The inconvenience for Monterey Bay Community Power of administering a large advisory committee is outweighed by the benefits for the agency and for the public. On behalf of the board and members of the Salinas Taxpayers Association, please consider ratepayer representation in any future agency community advisory committee.