Opinion » Letters

The light of an alternative shines bright


Lt. Col. Al Fonzi did a responsible job of briefing us on potential power interruptions, "If the lights go out" (June 6). However, Fonzi included only some of the aftermath of 2012's Superstorm Sandy. After Sandy, Connecticut legislators mandated that energy distribution systems be rebuilt with the capability to be "islanded," or separated and operated independently, from the investor-owned utility power distribution grid during times of regional power failure to ensure the apocalypse insinuated by Fonzi would be avoided. Now, many communities in Connecticut and other Northeastern states are ensured of critical services like water, cold milk, beer, and gasoline to quell the roving bands of looters Fonzi seems to think are inevitable.

Over the next two months, San Luis Obispo County will consider joining the cities of San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, et al, in the well-established Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) program already serving Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. By the bylaws of the MBCP, the funds generated from selling electricity to its customers is reinvested in the communities it serves rather than distributed to shareholders.

MBCP has a program in place to fund 50 percent of microgrid projects proposed by municipalities, community services districts, and businesses to create the resilient infrastructure identified as lacking. These systems incorporate traditional emergency energy generation with renewable generation and battery storage to extend emergency fuel storage resources.

San Luis Obispo County communities don't need a disaster followed by an Armageddon to move toward a resilient future. Make an informed choice to support participation in the MBCP program to leverage a portion of the funds we all spend on electricity to ensure power is there when and where we need it the most.

Form your own opinion about this innovative utility business model available to our county. Research the successes and economic benefit community choice energy programs in other states and communities in California have provided. Start at mbcommunitypower.org. Thanks for inspiring us to implement a bright future not clouded by rhetoric, Fonzi.

Brian H. Aunger


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