Since launching in 2019, the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) Community Advisory Committee (CAC) has served as an essential resource for local community engagement efforts and policy initiatives. The CAC, made up of CPA customers who are local leaders in the areas of renewable energy, public health and community organizing, advise our Board of Directors on key programs and outreach efforts that benefit families and businesses in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The 15-member CAC represents seven sub-regions of our service area. Including East Ventura/West L.A. County, West/Unincorporated Ventura County, the Gateway Cities, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, the Westside and Unincorporated Los Angeles County.
Members reflect a diverse cross-section of professional backgrounds and are committed to using their expertise on clean energy issues to improve the lives of local customers while strengthening the connection between CPA and the Southern California region.
Dr. Neil Fromer, Executive Director of Programs for the Resnick Sustainability Institute at California Institute of Technology and the CAC Committee Chair, leverages his background and experience in the energy industry to make a difference, such as building local adoption of renewable energy options.
“Having worked in the renewable energy business for 20 years, in startup companies in the commercial sector as well as in academic institutions, when discussions about the creation of a community choice aggregator in Los Angeles began, I thought this would be a great way to increase the speed of adoption of renewable energy in the area,” said Dr. Fromer. “This opportunity allowed me to take what I know about energy and the infrastructure that we’ve put in place and share it with my community and try to get them excited about the possibility of creating a cleaner and healthier electricity system for us and for all of Southern California.”
Genaro Bugarin is the Director of Energy Innovation at The Energy Coalition and Vice Chair of the CAC representing Los Angeles County. He became increasingly inspired to help problem solve issues facing his community by becoming directly involved.
“As I got older and became a parent, I realized I wanted to work on some of the bigger challenges we face, and I wanted to be of service to the place that I call home. CPA was a great place for that,” said Bugarin. “As we work to move away from fossil fuels and carbon intensive fuels, the best method of doing that is to increase the amount of renewable energy going to our grid. I felt that with my experience as a former engineer, that was something I could provide perspective on and help work with leaders in surrounding communities to combat the effects of climate change here in California and beyond.”
As customer advocates, the CAC ensures diverse customer voices are consistently represented in our overall decision-making while fostering avenues for both feedback and support for community initiatives.
For Jennifer Andreassen Burke, Senior Communications Director, Global Climate at Environmental Defense Fund and Vice Chair of the CAC representing Ventura County, the natural wonders of the Ventura and Los Angeles region, as well as the environmental issues they face, were factors that drove her to join the CAC.
“I’m an environmentalist professionally and personally and climate change hits very close to home. Our region, in particular East Ventura and West Los Angeles County, is an area that’s really rich with natural beauty, open spaces, Santa Monica mountains – but it’s also at risk of wildfires and drought conditions that are being intensified by a warming planet,” said Andreassen Burke. “Ventura County is warming faster than any other county in the continental United States. So, I was very excited to hear that my city of Thousand Oaks was joining the Clean Power Alliance and one of my first acts as a new resident was to urge every member of the city council to adopt 100% Green Power as the default rate.”
Once a month the CPA Board of Directors receives a CAC report, highlighting community engagement opportunities in addition to local policy recommendations, along with a comprehensive overview of CAC discussions and evaluations for board feedback and guidance.
Each CAC member represents their local communities on a range of policy issues, as well as local programs, renewable energy projects, and assistance for customers. Members meet monthly and continually remain connected to the communities they represent.
This year, the Community Advisory Committee plans to launch several new initiatives, including a pilot youth education program. This pilot program will provide an opportunity for CAC members to partner with organizations within CPA territory, that specifically work with youth groups and youth programs. The goal will be to work with these organizations to educate K-12 students about CPA and our programs, create regional youth ambassadors, and advance knowledge about renewable energy and future clean energy career opportunities.
Dr. Fromer believes that engaging in community activities and events will be key to helping realize the dream of a greener California.
“I’m an avid cyclist and I’m passionate not just about securing energy for people to use in their homes, but also thinking of ways that we can transform our communities and the ways we get around. Last summer I tabled the 626 Golden Street event in Alhambra with members of the CPA team, and we were able to talk to lots of folks in the community about the benefits of clean energy while riding across the neighborhood.”
Fromer concluded, “It was a great experience, and something we can build on going forward as the CAC commits to fostering collaborative relationships with our neighbors and highlighting how renewable energy benefits the families and businesses in our communities.”
CAC meetings are open to the public and are held the third Thursday of each month from 1:00-2:30 p.m. To view CAC meetings, visit our public meetings YouTube channel and for additional meeting details, click here.