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Davis, Yolo Adopt Community Choice Energy

Stock / Capital Public Radio
 

Stock / Capital Public Radio

People who live in Davis and other parts of Yolo County may soon be able to buy electricity from a source other than Pacific Gas and Electric.

Yolo County and the City of Davis are forming a joint power authority to buy electricity on the wholesale market. By creating the new Community Choice Energy Program, the two governments can pool the electricity demands of their communities and look for power from sources that are cleaner and local.

"We are stronger together by collaborating with Yolo County,” Davis City Councilman Lucas Frerichs said. “I'm hopeful that over time we can entice some of the other cities in the county to join the county and Davis in this endeavor."

"The goals of providing more renewable energy, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and then also we actually have this ability to hopefully lower people's electricity bills as well, I think are all very lofty and things that we want to see have happen with this," said Frerichs.

But in communities with similar programs, electricity rates often end up higher because of exit fees charged by PG&E. Residents can opt out and continue purchasing PG&E power instead.

The Community Choice Energy Program starts in about a year.

Marin and Sonoma counties have adopted comparable programs. San Francisco is starting one up in about two months.

"Control is better served by forming a local joint powers agency with Yolo County that can lead to the development of local renewable energy sources," said Mitch Sears, the Davis sustainability program manager.

Sears says the program could eventually expand.

"We have been contacting other local jurisdictions,” Sears said. “Woodland and West Sacramento, for example, have shown some level of interest in potentially partnering with the city and with Yolo County." 

In a statement, PG&E said:

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) is the portion of an energy statement intended to ensure that customers who receive their electric supply from third-party providers, such as a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), share in the energy costs incurred by PG&E to serve them prior to their departure.

PG&E procures generation resources in order to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy for all of its customers now and into the future. In some cases, PG&E signs multi-year, long-term contracts—some as long as 20 years—in order to meet State policy goals, such as renewable energy standards and to responsibly manage costs for all customers. Until a customer leaves PG&E’s service, PG&E continues to buy energy on their behalf, not just to meet their immediate needs but to meet forecasted needs.

The PCIA only includes costs incurred prior to the customer’s departure from PG&E service and only includes costs determined by the California Public Utilities Commission to be above market value.