Power customers in most of Mendocino County will automatically be enrolled in Sonoma Clean Power, a community choice aggregate, starting in June. At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, a team of public affairs and marketing representatives gave a presentation about what ratepayers could expect from the new provider.
Community choice aggregates (CCAs), which were enabled in 2002 by Assembly Bill 117, allow cities, counties, and some special districts to enter into contracts with alternative energy suppliers on behalf of the community members.
CCAs are not-for-profit public agencies that become the default provider, unless customers opt out and choose to continue with the incumbent provider, which in Mendocino County is PG&E. Sonoma Clean Power will not operate in Ukiah, which has a municipally run electricity system.
PG&E will still be involved in several aspects of the power service, as Sonoma Clean Power’s focus is on securing contracts with alternative power sources. Sonoma Clean Power has a policy of not signing contracts with nuclear power suppliers. The company’s energy sources are largely carbon-free, though much of the electricity comes from hydropower, which is carbon-free but not considered renewable in California.
Customers will still receive bills from PG&E, which will still be responsible for maintaining the grid and delivering power. Customers’ enrollment in the new service is not supposed to affect their priority in getting repairs. PG&E customers who are enrolled in special discount programs such as CARE, FERA, and Medical Baseline will not need to re-apply for those benefits, as they will continue uninterrupted.
Kelly told the board that she and her colleagues plan to give presentations and show up at farmers markets and senior centers throughout the county to answer questions about the company’s products from now until the rollout in early summer. Customers will also receive a variety of informational notices in the mail.
Mendo’s PG&E Customers Will Join Sonoma Clean Power, The Mendocino Voice, March 23, 2017.