Valley Clean Energy Alliance Gives SMUD the Green Light

For the record…

The Valley Clean Energy Alliance has plugged into Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which will provide power for Davis, Woodland and much of unincorporated Yolo County.

The decision means that the Sacramento-based energy provider will source power for the VCEA’s portions of Yolo County, while also offering technical service, data management, customer support and more.

According to the alliance’s press release, the board of directors had several options.

“VCEA was fortunate to have a number of very capable service providers to choose from,” said Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and VCEA board chairman. “With their depth of expertise, cost competitive proposal, and close alignment with (our) mission, the exceptional value of SMUD’s proposal was clear. We’re eager to get started.”

Saylor heads the alliance with five other representatives, who receive local voice from nine appointed community members.

The VCEA originally derived from the city of Davis and Yolo County in December 2016. Woodland joined the organization in June, adding mayor Angel Barajas and Councilman Tom Stallard to the board.

“We look forward to reaching an agreement with SMUD that will allow us to effectively stay on track to launch clean renewable energy to our customers by June 2018,” Barajas said in response to the news. “We are excited to have expertise and experience on our side with SMUD.”

Since its inception, the joint-powered authority has worked to plug locals into Community Choice Energy. Under that system, involved customers — homeowners and business — may choose to opt “in” or “out” of sourcing electricity from a variety of companies, including wind and solar providers. The county would continue to use Pacific Gas & Electric infrastructure for transmission and billing services, but the power running through the lines to each individual home could be sourced from more renewable sources.

Individual customers would be able choose where their power derives from, and that choice will be considered by the VCEA should they decide to expand certain power providers.

In recent months, the VCEA has powered through an aggressive schedule, and should they adhere to it, Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo should have SMUD-sourced power in the summer of 2018.

Though SMUD will provide power, PG&E will continue to provide the infrastructure — wires, poles, grid — for Yolo County.

As stated, the board’s choice would wean the affected cities from PG&E, continuing a turf-war between the two companies over areas near Sacramento. In 2006, PG&E successfully won Yolo over from SMUD following a contentious public vote and has since provided power to the majority of the county, including West Sacramento. Now, however, SMUD has convinced Woodland, Davis and other rural Yolo areas to switch over.

The two companies have competed over the Sacramento Valley since SMUD formed in 1923.

According to West Sacramento’s website, the city continues to source power from PG&E.

Based on a meeting in late July, the VCEA will soon conduct community outreach programs to inform the public about the flip of the switch.

Four mailers will be sent to residents notifying them and educating them on the VCEA’s mission. Recipients can mail back to opt out of the program and instead source their power through their current provider, PG&E. Without doing so, Woodlanders, Davisites and Yoloans will automatically be placed within the CCE.

Valley Clean Energy Alliance Gives SMUD the Green Light, by Hans Peter, Woodland Daily Democrat, September 1, 2017.

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