The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is set to begin proposing energy rates Monday, according to executive director Matthew Marshall.
“The bottom line is we’ll have the ability to offer customers an alternative for the generation input of the bill,” Marshall said. “We are focusing on local renewable energy which have lower greenhouse emissions and a slightly lower rate. If we can deliver lower-cost renewable energy and there’s no risk to customers, then why not do it?”
The rates will reflect the Community Choice Aggregation program, which will give Pacific Gas & Electric customers more options for how their energy is generated.
In 2009, AB 117 gave California cities and counties the authority to chose whether or not they would to approve a CCA program. The CCA will serve as the alternative method for local governments to get power to homes and businesses.
The joint power agency includes Humboldt County and its cities with the exception of Ferndale, where the city council has not yet voted to approve the program.
Marshall said even with the approved CCA, people can still chose to opt out of the program.
“Each jurisdiction, whether it be city or county, had to pass an ordinance to approve the program. (Redwood Coast Energy Authority) is designated as the entity to do it on behalf of those jurisdictions,” Marshall said. “Customers will still receive one bill from PG&E. There will just be a switch when it comes to where the power comes from.”
According to Marshall, residents in Marin County were the first to start a CCA program to locally source their energy. Humboldt County has been working to establish local sustainable energy through renewable resources.
“It will have environmental and economic benefits by investing in local generative projects like biomass, solar and eventually wind energy,” Marshall said.
Marshall said PG&E will still be in charge of supplying power to customers through its company owned infrastructure and will continue to make repairs and respond to outages.
PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo said if a local government implements a CCA program that the customers of that CCA are still PG&E customers.
“We will continue to manage the transmission of energy as well as billing, maintenance and outage services. Programs administered by the CCA may differ but that is up to the CCA,” Merlo said.
“The CCA notification process gives two notices during a 60-day period prior to the commencement and two additional notices during a 60-day period after the transition. These notices will inform customers how to opt out of those services.”
Program Sources Local Renewable Energy, by Natalya Estrada, Eureka Times-Standard, January 19, 2017.