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During the past year, San Ramon participated in a Study lead 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 procuring energy and selling it to customers. The CCE program, becomes the default 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 their own Contra Costa based CCE, leaving only the MCE and EBCE options for interested Contra Costa cities.  

Over the past month, the City of San Ramon received a presentation from County Staff on the results of the CCE Study as well as presentations by both MCE and EBCE on their respective programs.  At the June 13, 2017, the 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. 

Please click the following link to let the City Council know if you are in favor of the City moving to MCE as the default energy provider for electricity in San Ramon.

Below are some FAQ on MCE and Community Choice Energy.

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, 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) 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’s provide renewable energy for approximately 250,000 customers.

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 their customers. Each year, MCE hosts an “open season” 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 that they are located in the MCE service area.

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.

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.

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 their 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 with 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 (CCA) law, 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 electric provider if I live in its service area?

No.  Any customer may opt out of MCE service in order to choose PG&E service. The choice is yours.

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.

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, 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 held in in San Rafael. We invite the public to attend and give us your feedback. Rate-setting typically occurs on an annual basis, and new rates are usually approved in April.

13.  How do MCE’s rates compare to PG&E’s?

MCE offers a cleaner, more sustainable energy product with many of the same rate schedules as PG&E. MCE is is committed to keeping costs as low as possible for customers.

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 our customers based on the electricity they use.

15. Who governs and administers MCE?

MCE is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors representing each of the member communities that it serves. MCE’s local government structure ensures public transparency. The Board conducts its business in monthly meetings that are always open to the public.

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.

 

 

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7000 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583 | Map | Phone (925) 973-2554 | Fax (925) 275-0650