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Power Struggle In State Senate Over 'Opt-In' Requirement For Alternative Power

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- A power struggle is underway in California's State Assembly over two simple words that are complicating a bill about where residents get their electricity.

Assemblyman Steven Bradford, a Los Angeles area Democrat authored the bill that some say is protection for big utilities.

"This is nothing more than a monopoly protection bill. The goal of this bill is to protect the utility interest," Dawn Weisz of Marin Clean Energy said.

Weisz says AB-2145 makes it impossible for cities and towns in California to start their own local energy programs, something that Marin already does.

Those energy programs, called community choice aggregates or CCA's give consumers a choice about where the power they use comes from.

The bill forces residents to opt-in to CCA's, meaning they would stay with the incumbent utility like PG&E.

But, Bradford says the opt-in is no big deal, and explained it by comparing kidneys to kilowatts.

"In California we have one of the most successful organ donation programs in the nation, and it's based on an opt-in provision," he said.

Environmentalists point out that Bradford used to be an executive at SoCal Edison.

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