The Municipal Services Committee has approved the $427,200 contract with Alliance for Cooperative Energy Services (ACES) LLC for modeling and consulting services related to the development of the Pasadena Water and Power’s 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
The Plan serves as a blueprint for PWP to deliver reliable, environmentally responsible electricity services at competitive rates over a 25-year planning period.
Its purpose is to establish a long-term plan for PWP’s portfolio of energy supply resources, with the goal of finding a balance among system reliability, fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship — specifically addressing climate change concerns.
According to PWP, six firms sent in proposals for the services — three for modeling services and three for consulting services and ACES LLC got the highest score for each of the scopes of work.
At the meeting, a number of residents expressed their concerns related to climate change and choosing ACES LLC as the recipient of the contract.
“I care about climate change and I want our city to be powered by 100 % carbon free energy by 2030 if not sooner,” Colin Bogart said. “I’m concerned if we are choosing the right company with the experience and commitment to renewable energy.”
Pasadena 100, a local organization advocating for the city to transition to 100 % carbon-free energy by 2030 also questioned the expertise of ACES LLC.
“We were mystified by this choice,” said Pasadena 100 Chairperson Cynthia Cannady. “We were unable to find a single reference on the website or anywhere [regarding ACES’ consultancy experience] for an IRP process for a California publicly owned utility or for any utility company.”
“This is serious. We have a big task ahead of us. Unfortunately, PWP is understaffed. So we really need a good consultant,” added Cannady.
PWP Interim General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger, responding to the public comments, said the ACES LLC had previously prepared IRP for public utilities in the past, including Pasadena’s 2021 IRP update, the IRP for Core Electric Cooperative in Sedalia Colorado and the IRP for Sunflower Electric Cooperative in Hays, Kansas, among other public utilities.
Meanwhile, Principal Power Resource Planner John Hormozi clarified that ACES LLC is only being hired as consultant and computer modeler.
“None of the applicants is in the business of selling, producing, generating or buying fossil fuels. They are not being hired as advocates. They are being hired as consultants and computer modelers.”
“It’s not part of their scope of work to tell PWP what resource mix to consider.”
Kightlinger echoed Hormozi’s statement and said the City Council will still make the decision related to PWP’s portfolio of energy supply resources.
“At the end of the day the policy choices will be presented to the MSC [Municipal Services Committee] and to the council. And that’s where the policy decision will be made.”
“What we are really looking at is technical expertise in modeling, number crunching and crafting the proposals and ultimately the scenarios will be presented to the council where the policy direction will be received,” Kightlinger said.
All members of the MSC voted in favor of the staff proposal except for Councilmember Jessica Rivas.
As per staff report, the PWP has already formed a Stakeholder Technical Advisory Group, representing a cross-section of the Pasadena community, to provide input on the scope of the IRP.
The PWP is set to hold public meetings and conduct outreach to gather additional stakeholder input for the IRP as final recommendations are being developed for consideration by the City Council.