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Huntington Beach City Council votes to stay in Orange County Power Authority

Huntington Beach will continue as a member of the Orange County Power Authority.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 on Monday night to stay in the Orange County Power Authority, a Community Choice Energy program that will allow electricity to be procured by residents through a local government entity rather than a traditional supplier such as Southern California Edison.

Council members Mike Posey, Barbara Delgleize, Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Mayor Kim Carr voted to stay in the Orange County Power Authority, while Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz and Councilman Erik Peterson voted against it.

Huntington Beach will be one of the initial cities in Orange County to back the CCE, which is being championed and funded initially by the city of Irvine, and as such is classified as a founding partner. The City Council voted to join the Orange County Power Authority during a special meeting on Dec. 10, naming Posey as a board member. The other cities involved include Fullerton, Buena Park and Lake Forest.

"[We have] five cities, and I know that Brian [Probolsky], our CEO, is working on four or five other cities,” Posey said during Monday night’s meeting. “I can also tell you that both Brian and I have had Zoom meetings with very large energy users. We’re working on reeling in a few of our first big customers. There’s some positive news coming.”

City Manager Oliver Chi said during a presentation Monday that the city has been working with MRW Consulting, whose analysis has shown that the OCPA implementation plan is sound and was developed using reasonable and conservative assumptions.

Electricity cost savings in the OCPA are expected to be smaller in the first two to three years of operation but grow over time, with a range of one to three cents per kilowatt hour less than Edison, Chi said. However, he noted that there is currently volatility in the electrical market that could disrupt those projections.

Customers may opt out of the CCE and move back to Edison if they aren’t satisfied.

“I think it’s really important that we engage the community through town halls, social media, text messaging — use every tool in the toolbox to let people know that this is coming,” Carr said. “If they do want to opt out, we can.”

Surf City extends outdoor dining hours

Huntington Beach has extended its outdoor dining hours on Main Street since the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted.

Prior to the stay-at-home order, outdoor dining closed at 10 p.m., but outdoor dining is now open until 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Chi said the city worked with downtown businesses and the Huntington Beach Police Department to extend the hours.

“This is a welcome change,” Posey said. “As we know, most of [the downtown restaurants] had permits that would allow them to operate until midnight, and even some until 2 a.m. When we implemented the outdoor dining program, those hours were cut back to 9 p.m., then there was a little bit of an extension to 10 p.m. But what we’ve found downtown is mostly families and couples ... keeping them open later is going to help contribute to their longevity and their fiscal stability.”

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