California\u2019s second most populous county and city are in the early stages of examining the potential for community choice aggregation. If they go forward, it would constitute the biggest such program to date in the state. \tThe San Diego County Board of Supervisors signed off on a plan to update the county\u2019s strategic energy plan with an eye toward \u201cexpanding direct access and exploring community choice aggregation.\u201d \tSupervisor Dave Roberts told fellow board members that the goal should be to \u201cexpand consumer choice and enhance competition and bring down the price\u201d of electricity in the county. \tThe county board\u2019s March 12 directive for staff to examine forming a community choice program came on the heels of a plan announced jointly by San Diego\u2019s new mayor Bob Filner and county supervisors March 8 to boost distributed generation for public buildings. That followed a \u201csolar summit\u201d meeting organized by Filner. \tSan Diego Gas & Electric \u201csupports our customers\u2019 right to choose an electricity provider,\u201d said utility spokesperson Amber Albrecht. She noted that a California Public Utilities Commission code of conduct prevents utilities from seeking to lobby or influence community choice aggregation efforts. Regulators also require utilities to provide information that advocates need to study the feasibility of community choice programs. \tCounty supervisor Dianne Jacob called \u201ccommunity choice\u201d a \u201cway to move toward energy self-sufficiency.\u201d Jacob represents the eastern portion of the county, where residents are concerned about transmission lines causing wildfires. Some community groups there fought SDG&E\u2019s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. The $1.9 billion line, commissioned in 2012, runs from Imperial County into the San Diego metropolitan area. \tJacob and Roberts\u2014who is newly elected to the county board\u2014sponsored the call to update the plan. In a memo to their fellow board members, the supervisors noted that the county purchases 90 percent of its electricity through direct access. Doing so saves $3 million annually compared to what it would cost to get that power from the utility serving the county, they claim. \tThe supervisors stated they envision the updated energy plan will promote distributed generation systems, such as solar rooftops, fuel cells, microturbines, and other technologies. \tSDG&E has the highest power rates in the state, according to California Energy Commission data, at a system-wide average of 15.7 cents\/kWh, with Pacific Gas & Electric next at 15.2 cents\/kWh. \t\u201cThere is a lot of dissatisfaction with the status quo in San Diego,\u201d said Bill Powers, cofounder of the San Diego Regional Energy District Foundation, an organization that is pressing for community choice. \tFollowing a meeting last November attended by county representatives, mayor Filner, and city of Solana Beach officials, the foundation is preparing to request customer power use information from SDG&E on a confidential basis so it can work on matching available resources to load patterns in the area, according to Powers. \tThe foundation is working to develop power cost estimates under a community choice program with Direct Energy, a national company that provides power and natural gas to 13 million residential and business customers throughout North America. In the U.S., it focuses on states that offer retail choice, direct access, and community choice aggregation programs. \tDirect Energy is helping the foundation develop a community choice feasibility study, as well as a business and implementation plan, according to Powers. \tA county board staff member said the San Diego Department of General Services is likely to bring forward a proposed energy plan update this summer. It\u2019s expected to outline a series of proposed actions. The update is to be coordinated with the city of San Diego and other public agencies.