HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—Huntington Beach City Councilman Dan Kalmick was officially sworn in this week as the city’s primary representative in the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) after Mike Posey resigned from the position.
City councilors voted 6–0 to approve the appointment at the June 21 city council meeting, with Councilman Erik Peterson absent.
Mike Posey, the city’s mayor pro tempore, officially stepped down from the power agency’s board of directors at the council meeting. He said “it wasn’t appropriate” for him to serve on an important regional electricity board two years beyond the end of his city council term this year.
“It’s not really the right thing to do for the ratepayers and the taxpayers and really my colleagues on the city council,” Posey told the council.
Posey was asked by Kalmick to stay on the OCPA board as his alternate to support him and attend board meetings when he is unable to, which Posey has agreed to do only until the end of the year.
In support of Kalmick’s appointment, Posey said Kalmick—an expert on matters handled by the power agency, he said—had been his alternate for the past two years and already attended a few meetings in his place.
Elected to the city council in November 2020, Kalmick received his bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science before starting an IT business in Orange County supporting small businesses and non-profits in Southern California, according to OCPA’s website.
This was the second time Huntington Beach councilors approved Kalmick to become the city’s representative in the agency.
The council voted to approve the appointment for the first time on May 17. However, some people associated with the OCPA questioned whether the Brown Act—a state law outlining the public’s right to join and participate in local government meetings—was violated during the first vote, according to City Attorney Michael Gates.
During the June 21 meeting, Gates said that the city “did in fact follow the Brown Act” in May, but, “to remove any doubt,” the council voted again.
The OCPA, a “community choice energy” agency formed in 2020, is serving four cities in the county—Lake Forest, Buena Park, Huntington Beach, and Irvine. Since 2002, the state allows local governments to create such entities to buy energy from alternative suppliers on behalf of residents while setting competitive rates and collecting revenue.
The OCPA functions as a new purchaser and seller of electricity and has automatically taken customers in those four cities from Edison, which serves most parts of Southern California, but the agency still relies on Edison’s facilities to transport its energy.
Though the agency promised “cleaner, renewable electricity choices at competitive rates,” according to its website, its rates turned out to be not only higher than originally promised but also higher than Edison’s when services for its commercial customers were launched in April, which drew questions about the agency’s feasibility and financial wellbeing.
The city councils of Irvine and Huntington Beach both voted in mid-June to audit the OCPA for potential financial losses that could impact its member cities and to evaluate its ability to function efficiently.
Besides financial controversies, the agency’s CEO Brian Probolsky accused Posey and Kalmick of corruption and the open meeting law violations in a whistleblower letter in late May.
The OCPA has scheduled to start providing power to its residential customers in October.