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“The only concern I have is that it’s an added level of bureaucracy, and it’s taxpayer money being diverted to employ about 10 to 15 more people on the taxpayer dime,” she said in an interview.The City of Irvine initiated the countywide push. A feasibility study by the city found that consumers who join in the program are projected to save around 2% on their monthly electricity bill and potentially more as cities pay down the costs of launching the program. At a Dec. 1 Lake Forest City Council meeting, Moatazedi called it a “fairly new concept to cities.” “Yes, Lancaster has done it, but Lancaster is very small. On a larger scale, I don’t think it’s been really tried and tested very long. The bureaucracy part is a little concerning to me,” Moatazedi told her colleagues and the public at the meeting. Community Choice Energy advocate Jose Trinidad Castaneda disagrees. He said a few Community Choice programs have already been implemented in California and have even earned solid credit ratings. One such Community Choice program covering Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano counties got a nod from Moody’s Investor Service — a nationally recognized credit-rating agency — in 2018. Though Moody’s did point out challenges facing that region’s program, such as “uncertainties” over factors like resource production. “The reality is that Community Choice programs have been around for the last decade and have been tried and tested — a proven funding mechanism for cities — and I hope that can be the case for Orange County,” Castaneda said. Moatazedi told Voice of OC on Monday she “loves” the idea on paper. “I just don’t think that more bureaucracy is always the best answer,” she said. “But I’m still learning about it and educating myself on it.” Tonight, Lake Forest residents will get to see where she ends up on the issue. Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member at Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @photherecord. Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
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