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November 17, 2011
Investing in Our Future
by Girish Balachandran Alameda Municipal Power General Manager
In this time of economic uncertainty, and the rapid evolution of technological advancements, there’s no sugar-coating it: Change is happening all around us and to thrive we must plan for, and invest in, our future.
The electric utility industry is no exception. Increased regulatory demands, technology advancements, an aging infrastructure and workforce, and increased customer expectations all spell out one thing: we need to plan and invest in our future. Gone are the days of doing what we’ve done because that’s the way we’ve always done it. To seize the future, we must inspire and innovate, cooperate and consolidate; we must harness and exploit our strengths and assets.
Maintain or Improve Electric Service, While Minimizing Rate Impacts
For over a century and a quarter, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) has provided safe reliable power at lower rates without sacrificing service to power our community. As a not-for-profit organization owned by the community, we maintain local control so we can re-invest in the island and provide value to enrich our lives, businesses, and the community. Our lower rates translate into more than 10 million dollars saved each year by our customers.
But, we must continuously look to invest in our future so that we can persist in providing our community the value it has come to expect from AMP, its locally controlled utility. As we look forward, there are many areas needing attention and investment:
- Aging infrastructure
- Modernizing AMP’s distribution and metering equipment
- Implementing industry technology advancements needed to meet increased customer expectations
- Supplementing the purchase of additional renewable energy resources
- Augmenting customer programs
Generally, any improvements of this magnitude require substantial funding which affects customer rates. One of our primary objectives is to keep rates low, and we are constantly looking for ways in which we can maintain or improve electric service, while minimizing rate impacts.
On April 12, 2011, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 1X2, establishing a new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 33% by 2020 for all load serving entities in California. Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), as a public utility, is covered under the new law.
A Short-term Opportunity to Capitalize on AMP's Favorable Position
As other utilities scramble to meet State mandates, AMP is in a very favorable position with respect to its renewable energy portfolio, due to actions taken over the last decade. We therefore have a short-term opportunity to capitalize on this favorable position by temporarily selling some surplus renewable energy and investing the proceeds in lowering rates, avoiding rate spikes, replacing aging utility infrastructure, investing in advanced technology and planning for future renewable purchases. In the coming months, the Public Utilities Board will develop a policy on how to deal with AMP’s surplus renewable energy over the next several years. This important initiative will enable AMP to continue providing reliable and responsive electric service to meet the needs of our customers.
You Can Participate in the Process
We are locally owned and welcome your participation in this process at the public meetings scheduled in the coming months.
Reports, Plans, Presentations
View AMP's Renewable Energy Procurement Plan (PDF), which will be considered for adoption at its November 21, 2011 PUB meeting.
View the Compliance Plan for SB 1X2 - Renewable Portfolio Standard Implementation (PDF) presented at the September 19th PUB meeting.
View a related presentation (PDF) at the same September 19th meeting.
View the June 2011 Update on Renewable Portfolio Standard Analysis (PDF) and a related presentation (PDF).
View the Initiation of Discussion to February 2011 Update Renewable Portfolio Standard (PDF) and a related presentation (PDF).
View information for the 2012 Annual Strategic Planning Workshop (PDF).