In response to Loretta Wilson’s letter in your March 29 edition, our Community Choice Energy program increases rather than decreases choice for Humboldt County’s electric customers.
In most of California, electricity is provided by privately owned utilities such as PG&E. Some communities, such as Sacramento, Ukiah, and Redding, operate their own municipal electric utilities. In either case, the customer has only one choice of electric provider.
Under Community Choice Energy, each customer here in Humboldt has the choice of whether to be served by a publicly-owned, not-for-profit program such as ours, or to stay with the incumbent private utility.
Community Choice Energy was made available to California communities by state law in 2002. Under this law, these programs are opt-out, making the new program the default electricity provider in participating communities. Also per law, we send four notifications by mail to each electric customer before and after we begin providing power, ensuring everyone is aware of their options.
We’re hearing from people who are excited about our program, and a few who choose to opt out and stay with PG&E. Either way, these customers will continue to enjoy the reliable transmission, distribution, and customer services PG&E provides.
The change we offer is lower rates, greater local control over our energy sources, more renewable energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and more energy dollars kept here in the community. Community Choice Energy programs are already providing these benefits in other counties, including Sonoma, Marin, and starting this summer in Mendocino.
As Ms. Wilson says, you can call us at 800-931-7232 to make your preference known, or you can visit us online at RedwoodEnergy.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
Richard Engel, RCEE Director of Power Resources, Eureka
More Choice with Energy Program, by Richard Engle, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, April 5, 2017.