- Peninsula Clean Energy Now Serving All of San Mateo County with Lower Cost, Cleaner Electricity 4/19/17
Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is a community choice energy (CCE) program which allows Redwood City, along with the County and the other towns and cities in San Mateo County, to pool the electricity demands of our businesses and residents, purchase renewable power and reinvest in local infrastructure.
All customers are automatically enrolled in PCE’s “default” option during the program launch, starting in October 2016 and with a second phase of enrollments in April 2017. PCE’s “default” option, EcoPLUS, is both cleaner and cheaper than PG&E’s default product. Customers can choose to “opt up” to PCE’s 100% renewable option, ECO100, which is slightly more expensive than PG&E’s default product. Customers can also choose to “opt out” and return to PG&E.
For more information, visit the Peninsula Clean Energy website or call PCE directly at 1-866-966-0110.
For a calendar of PCE outreach events, go to www.peninsulacleanenergy.com/resources.
What is Community Choice Energy (CCE)?
Community Choice Energy (CCE) is a program that enables city and county governments to supply electricity for their residents and businesses, as well as government electricity users, by buying or developing power on their behalf. CCEs provide consumer choice and local control over the energy supply, allowing for more renewable energy sources as well as increasing competition in the energy market. In San Mateo County, the CCE's electricity will continue to be distributed and delivered over the existing electricity lines by PG&E, and customers in CCE jurisdictions can choose to stay with CCE or return to PG&E. Customers who return to PG&E will be able to opt-in to CCE again after one year.
If I joined a CCE, would my electricity rates go up?
The County’s technical study provides an examination of the potential impacts of a CCE on rates, but so far CCE electrical rates have generally been 3%-10% lower than PG&E‘s rates. This is dependent on the customer class and the particular CCE option each customer chooses. Current CCEs offer a “default” option that is both cleaner and cheaper than PG&E, as well as a 100% renewable energy option that is slightly more expensive than PG&E’s default product. In addition, CCEs have the added advantage of price stability. While PG&E rates change several times a year, CCE rates generally adjust once per year, offering a measure of rate stability and certainty for CCE customers. While there is no guarantee that CCE generation rates will always be lower than PG&E’s generation rates, CCEs do have the advantage of being small, non-profit agencies with less overhead than investor-owned utilities do. This helps keep costs down.
What will PG&E’s role be?
The CCE will be responsible for buying and/or developing all the electricity required to meet the demands of its customers, and customers who choose to opt out of the CCE would continue to have PG&E buy their electricity. All customers, whether they are a part of the CCE not, continue to pay PG&E for transmission and distribution services and receive a single, consolidated bill from PG&E. The only difference between a CCE and PG&E customer’s bill is the source of electricity and line-item charge for energy generation. The utility retains ownership and management of the pole and wire infrastructure (“the grid”) and continues to handle all grid related issues.
If the power goes out, will PG&E still fix a CCE customer’s outage problem?
Yes, PG&E continues to provide the same delivery, line maintenance, and customer services regardless of whether that home or business is part of the CCE program.
I have heard that CCEs are “opt-out” programs. What does that mean?
When a county or city decides to create or join a CCE, all customers within that jurisdiction are automatically enrolled in the CCE; the CCE becomes the County’s default provider of electrical supply. However, every customer can choose to opt-out and return to the incumbent utility (which is PG&E in San Mateo County) for generation service at any time (remember: gas service, electric power delivery and customer billing is always provided by PG&E). State law requires that customers receive several notifications to opt-out just before and just after a CCE program launches. At any time after that initial launch period, a CCE customer can return to the incumbent utility’s service for a small administration fee. (Customers who return to PG&E will be able to opt-in to CCE again after one year.)