History of VCREA

During the energy crisis of 2001, energy efficiency and reliability were subject of discussion by the community leadership. From these discussions came the desire to form a regional energy office.

Following the September 2002 award of funding by the California Public Utilities Commission, the Local Government Commission worked with Ventura County's local POWER Task Force representatives, elected officials, technology based businesses and interested consumers to establish the Regional Energy Working Group (REWG) for the purposes of determining the ability of the region to sustain long-term support for an organization devoted to energy planning and advocacy. The REWG met for six months to create an organizational framework that addressed the goals and financial strategies necessary to meet the broad range of energy issues facing Ventura County.

An 18-month plan was developed to chart the initial scope of work and advise potentially interested public agencies, businesses and individuals of the collaborative efforts underway. The plan will be refined in subsequent months to further define the course for development and implementation of a sustainable energy plan for Ventura County.

An Advisory Committee was designated in the JPA and formed for the purpose of advising the VCREA on trends and issues facing the consumer and business communities. Committee members represent the following four sectors: (1) public agencies, (2) energy business and utilities, (3) research, development and educational institutions, and (4) interested public representatives. The committee provides an extensive base for practical energy applications, evaluation of best practices, consumer education and technical communication throughout the region.

The VCREA has been supported by a staff technical network composed of representatives from the member agencies. Staff support has been effective in moving the organization through the first critical steps of organization and has helped to define opportunities for energy efficiency. The staff technical network will continue to provide crucial information for VCREA member agencies as facility audits are underway and practical applications are funded through future resources. Members will benefit from lessons learned, observed gaps in service and "best practices" that will be shared with private sector partners to build and strengthen the network.

Development of the VCREA organization began during a time of extremely limited local public funding. VCREA members developed a budget philosophy to extend unique services and programs through energy efficiency and cost savings at no cost to members. The initial fiscal strategy has been to leverage funds and minimize costs to members through use of grants, loans and partnerships. The intent of VCREA is to replicate programs that have proven track-records elsewhere but have yet to reach the hard to serve areas of the region, work with regional energy partners to avoid duplication and to research methods of new funding that will enhance local efforts to reduce energy costs to all consumers.

Working with elected leaders, energy consultants, public staff and business leaders, the VCREA applied for a second round of CPUC funding in September 2003, and was awarded funding as requested to pursue energy efficiency in 2004-05.  The VCREA met its first year goals and is poised to achieve fiscal sustainability and engage other public and private leaders who share the vision and have the desire to meet the regional energy challenges facing Ventura County.

For information on the efforts and accomplishments since 2005, please see the annual repo
rts section of
this website.