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Marin Clean Energy in San Ramon
Posted on 03/07/2018

Starting in 2016, San Ramon participated in a Study led by Contra Costa County to assess the feasibility of creating a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program in the County. A CCE program pools consumer electricity demand within a region for the purpose of expanding consumer choice by procuring energy and selling it to customers. The CCE program, becomes the primary electricity provider to all electricity customers (commercial and residential) within the service area.  While the CCE program would be responsible for purchasing power, electricity would still be transmitted through Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)’s transmission lines and customers would continue to be billed for electricity and gas through PG&E.

The CCE Study looked at three options: 1) creating a new CCE program in Contra Costa County; 2) joining the existing Marin Clean Energy (MCE) Program; 3) joining the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) being formed in Alameda County.  The County chose not to form its own Contra Costa based CCE, leaving only the options to join MCE and EBCE  On June 13, 2017, the San Ramon City Council directed staff to begin the process of joining MCE, while at the same time soliciting feedback from the community via a community survey.  The City formally adopted a resolution to join MCE on June 27, 2017.

The City Council articulated in their decision to join MCE the importance of providing residents more choices in their purchase of energy.  MCE would provide the community an alternative to PG&E, while still allowing members of the community to remain with PG&E if they choose to go this route. 

The transition to MCE for San Ramon accounts will begin in February when electricity customers start receiving the first of four mailed enrollment notices. Actual MCE service will not begin until April on the date of the account billing cycle.  Customers can request to opt out of MCE at anytime and have 60 days from the end of their April PG&E billing date to do so at no charge.  Customers will be charged a one-time administrative fee of $5 for residential accounts or $25 for commercial accounts to opt out if they do so after 60 days from their April PG&E billing date. Customers may also opt up to MCE’s 100% renewable Deep Green service at any point as well.   You can opt out here opt up to MCE’s Deep Green 100% renewable energy here

You will still receive a bill from PG&E regardless of your decision to choose MCE or PG&E for your electricity generation service.  The link here provides you an overview of what your PG&E bill would look like if you chose the MCE option. If you remain with PG&E there will be no change to your current bill.


1.  What is Community Choice Energy?
When California deregulated the energy market in 1997, many Californians switched to alternative energy providers. Following the energy crisis of 2000-01, consumer choice of electricity providers was suspended. As a response to the closing of the open market, Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which again offered an opportunity for Californians to choose their electric provider and the source of their electricity. MCE was California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program and has been operational for over 7 years.

2.  What is Marin Clean Energy?
MCE is a public, not-for-profit electricity provider that gives all PG&E electric customers (residential, commercial, and municipal) within its jurisdiction the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric—at comparable rates.  MCE was formed in 2008, and service was launched to customers on May 7, 2010, as California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program. Currently, MCE provides renewable energy for approximately 250,000 customers.  You can read more about MCE’s work in Contra Costa County at

3. How does MCE procure power?
MCE has short and long-term contracts with a variety of power suppliers to meet the energy needs of its customers. Each year, MCE hosts an “open season” procurement process where developers or owners of renewable energy projects can propose contracts. MCE also operates a Feed-In Tariff program, through which local developers can create and sell small renewable energy projects directly to MCE at a set price, provided they are located within MCE’s service area.

The base service level for customers is MCE’s Light Green service, which is a minimum of 50% renewable.  Customers may opt up to MCE’s  Deep Green 100% renewable service by contacting MCE at 1-888-632-3674 or at MCE’s website at

4.  Are MCE customers eligible for rebates from PG&E for energy efficiency and rooftop solar?
Yes. And MCE customers are eligible for the rebate programs that are available directly to MCE customers as well. Please visit MCE’s Solar information page for specific information for solar customers.  The web page is at

5.  Where does MCE get its electricity from?
MCE energy is mostly produced from non-polluting, renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and bioenergy. The projects that produce the electricity are located in California, Oregon, and Washington State. The exact proportion of each varies with time, based on demand and availability. For example, MCE may use a higher proportion of hydroelectric energy during the spring and summer months when winter run-off generates more power at affordable prices. For more information about MCE’s energy sources, please visit

6. How do I know that MCE is actually procuring 50% or 100% renewable energy on my behalf?
MCE is required to report to the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission on an annual basis to verify the amount of renewable energy procured for its customers. This is the same standard used by other California utilities, such as PG&E, for verification purposes.

Green-e Energy, an independent third-party, also verifies MCE’s Deep Green 100% renewable energy supply and ensures that it meets the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions.

7. Does MCE replace PG&E?
No. PG&E continues to provide all gas services, electric delivery, billing, and power line maintenance. MCE only replaces the electric generation services with 50-100% renewable energy at the goal of competitive rates.

8.  Why is the entire community enrolled in MCE’s generation service?
Historically, investor-owned utilities have been the default service provider to customers in their jurisdictions. However, in 2002, when state legislators passed California’s Community Choice Aggregation  law (AB 117), this default status was transferred from the investor-owned utility to the local community choice aggregator (CCA), when available.. The original CCA legislation mandated that the customers residing in the service area would automatically be enrolled, unless they chose not to participate by opting out.

9.  Do I have to keep MCE as my electrical provider if I live in the service area?
No.  Any customer may opt out of MCE service in order to choose PG&E’s electric generation service. The choice is yours. You may opt out at any time at You need to have your  PG&E account number to  complete this process.  You can find your PG&E account number on your PG&E bill.  You may also contact MCE by phone at 1-888-632-3674 to opt out but you will still need your PG&E account number to complete the opt out. 

10. Can I return to MCE after I opt out?
Customers who opt out before starting MCE service or within the first 60 days of MCE service may return to MCE service at any time. Customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with MCE will be prohibited by PG&E from returning to MCE for one year. For San Ramon’s electricity customers, the 60 day period begins in April 2018 on each customer’s individual PG&E meter-read date.

11. Is there a fee to opt out?
There is no charge for opting out of MCE before or within the first 60 days of service. After the first 60 days of service that begin with your April PG&E meter-read date), MCE will charge a one-time $5 (residential) or $25 (commercial) administrative fee.

12.  How does MCE set its rates?
The MCE Board of Directors sets electric generation rates for MCE customers. MCE values public participation and transparency, which is why MCE’s rates are developed, discussed, evaluated, and approved at public meetings. Rate-setting typically occurs on an annual basis, and new rates are usually approved in April.   MCE’s  can be found here at

13.  How do MCE’s rates compare to PG&E’s?
Information on   MCE’s rates can be found at

14.  Are any tax dollars used to finance or operate MCE?
No, MCE does not receive tax dollars. MCE is funded by the revenue received from customers based on the electricity they use.

15. Who governs and administers MCE?
MCE is governed by a 28-member Board of Directors representing each of the member communities it serves. MCE’s local government structure ensures public transparency. The Board conducts its business in monthly meetings that are open to the public.  The City of San Ramon is represented by Council Member Scott Perkins on the MCE board.

16.  Does the MCE Board of Directors receive a salary or other payment or benefits?
No. The Directors are not paid by MCE. The MCE Board of Directors is comprised of elected city and county officials representing each of the communities that MCE serves. 

17.  Do MCE’s member cities and county assume any financial risk or obligation for participating in MCE?
No. The cities and counties general funds are protected through the formation of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA). The debts and liabilities of the JPA do not extend to the member cities and counties. This protection is required by state law. You can review MCE’s establishing documents including the original JPA agreement and the most recent update of that agreement from August 23, 2017 at