With predictions of electricity shortages mounting, cities around the state are eyeing the option of assuming the power purchasing reins for their residents. Cities believe they have been cut out of the entire procurement process and want to take advantage of California?s community-choice aggregation law. But investor-owned utilities and some state regulators may oppose the move. ?We want to be consulted more,? said Bill Peden, director of resource planning for San Francisco. When blackouts abounded during the energy crisis, the city helped disgruntled customers, he asserted at an electricity policy roundtable held February 17 by the city. Ultimately, residents ?pay the price? for an unreliable system and volatile prices, he added. Of the three IOUs, only Pacific Gas & Electric was represented at the policy meeting. AB 117, the state?s community-choice aggregation (CCA) law, allows local governments to buy power from energy service providers. This week, San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Tom Ammiano introduced a draft ordinance that would establish a CCA plan for San Francisco. While private utilities tend to stifle innovation, cities could excel in this area, Peden claimed. Community aggregation projects must be reviewed by the California Public Utilities Commission, a process that can take more than a year, especially when factoring in utility opposition, noted Dian Grueneich, an attorney who represents direct-access groups. For that reason, there are going to be ?good opportunities that pass us by,? she predicted. IOUs need only to stall arguments to kill muni projects, added J. Jeffrey Kinsell, another CCA proponent at the meeting. CPUC president Michael Peevey stressed the agency?s commitment to muni power but also expressed doubts about whether local governments would pursue renewables targets mandated for investor-owned utilities. Peevey said he was frustrated that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is considering building another coal plant. One muni proponent responded that the city of Alameda relies on 50 percent renewables. The San Francisco ordinance calls for the city to rely on green power as a significant part of its energy mix. A bill is expected to be introduced in the state legislature this year that would require munis to meet the same renewables targets as investor-owned utilities (see <i>Energy Circuit<\/i>, January 23, 2004).