Monterey Bay >> Officially formed earlier this year, the Monterey Bay Community Power agency is starting to take shape.
This week, the tri-county agency announced the hiring of its first executive officer, Pacific Grove resident and longtime utility administrator Tom Habashi, who will serve as interim CEO. Habashi, who spent the last year as CEO of the community choice power agency Silicon Valley Clean Energy as part of a 30-year career managing community-owned utilities, will oversee the creation of the local agency’s strategic implementation plan, operations, regulatory affairs, and communications and outreach. He will be paid $330,000 per year, or $27,500 per month, with a $30,000 signing bonus but no benefits.
Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who was named chairman of the agency’s policy board earlier this month, noted Habashi “brings a wealth of experience in the clean energy sector.”
“We’re confident Tom’s expertise will help (the agency) deliver on our mission of providing renewable energy while giving a boost to the local economy,” McPherson said in a prepared statement.
Habashi said in a prepared statement helping launch the state’s first tri-county community choice energy agency was an “exciting opportunity,” and looked forward to working toward the “triple goal of local choice, clean energy and economic vitality for the Monterey Bay area.”
The agency expects to begin searching for a permanent CEO by next spring.
The local community power agency, which consists of county and municipal entities from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, would be empowered to take over power purchase authority from PG&E, offering higher ratios of renewable energy and charging up to 750,000 customers in the region similar rates as the private utility without the corporate profit share. The difference in customer bills would be used to lower rates and pursue clean energy projects aimed at boosting local jobs and the economy. All jurisdictions in the tri-county region have signed on except Del Rey Oaks and King City.
Also this week, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $1.36 million credit guarantee to cover the Monterey County share of the agency’s estimated $3 million start-up costs.
Meanwhile, agency officials will work to complete an implementation plan that will set out the agency’s organizational structure, rate setting and other participant costs, financing, disclosure and due process provisions in setting rates and allocating costs, identification of potential energy providers, and the like. The plan must be reviewed and approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.
The agency policy board is slated to consider the plan at an Aug. 16 special meeting to be held at 9 a.m. in the Watsonville City Council chambers, on the fourth floor of City Hall at 275 Main Street in Watsonville.
Monterey Bay Community Power Agency Hires Interim CEO, Works on Implementation Plan, by Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald, July 27, 2017.