Monterey County Supervisors, Divided, Agree to Join New Alternative Power Agency

During the March 7 Monterey County Board of Supervisors meeting on joining the newly formed Monterey Bay Community Power agency, it was unclear how the vote would go. Even though six jurisdictions had already signed up, the largest prospective member – Monterey County – could’ve chosen to sit it out.

Hanging in the balance: The county could either get on board with at least 16 other municipalities in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties to form the new renewable energy agency, or stay on the sidelines. MBCP promises to build alternative energy projects and aims to give customers a choice besides PG&E, while bringing jobs to the region.

Supervisors Luis Alejo and Simon Salinas demanded the MBCP give larger cities and the county an additional vote each on the board – which is why they opposed it March 7, and in a previous vote. Supervisors Mary Adams and Jane Parker wanted in. And more than 40 citizens spoke up, most in favor of MBCP.

“Most of you know I’ve been the least supportive,” said Supervisor John Phillips, the swing voter. “I think the idea is good, but is this a really good business decision?” While Alejo and Salinas worried the county wouldn’t have enough say on the 11-member board, Phillips was worried politicians would have too much.

But Phillips said it was time to move forward, and the county voted 3-2 to join.

Marina and Monterey city councils also voted March 7 to join MBCP. The agency is expected to hold its first meeting this spring, with an eye toward selling alternative energy to customers within a year.

Monterey County Supervisors, Divided, Agree to Join New Alternative Power Agency, by Pam Marino, Monterey County Weekly,  March 9, 2017.

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