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Marin Clean Energy is moving in to San Ramon Valley

Original post made on Mar 31, 2018

Marin Clean Energy, California's first publicly owned electricity provider, will be replacing PG&E as the San Ramon Valley main energy producer.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 30, 2018, 4:12 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by BobG
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 31, 2018 at 8:46 am

“The biggest pushback we've seen is trying to explain the opt-out process to residents,” said Eric Figueroa, San Ramon's assistant city manager. “Generally people don’t want have to opt-out, they would rather opt-in.”

This exactly on point! I would certainly prefer to be provided all of the information and then decide to opt-in rather than receiving no information and be required to opt-out. Heck, I bet there are many residents in San Ramon who aren't even aware they need to opt out. San Ramon could have done a much better job of rolling this out.

Posted by Kim
a resident of Danville
on Mar 31, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Or BobG- residents of San Ramon could read the literature sent to them and it’s stated pretty clearly that opt-out is an option. There’s been a huge outreach campaign.

Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 31, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

can confirm there was a huge outreach, that included snail mail brochure. If people ignore, well.......

No big deal; just opt-out. Very simple.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 2, 2018 at 9:55 am

If you opt out and go back to PG&E, you'll end up paying more money for dirtier energy. That doesn't sound like a good choice.
I've read all of the information carefully, and this is a great program. More local control, cleaner energy, lower prices because the cost of renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper.

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Apr 2, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Yes, there has been tons of communication, which has been very well done, so glad this is happening. With the default plant that everyone will automatically get placed into, our rates will go down and stabilize (if you haven't noticed, under PG&E, our electric rates have been going up consistently once or twice a year for the last few years) and what we pay less for, will be cleaner energy (the 50% green energy option). And for those that want 100% green energy, they have that option too. This is an example of how we wish our government could work for us all the time in my humble opinion.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm

“Generally people don’t want have to opt-out, they would rather opt-in.”
said Eric Figueroa, San Ramon's assistant city manager.

The automatic "opt in" is disingenuous & highly presumptive, & also is time consuming to "opt out". The City of San Ramon knows that if residents had to "opt in" a huge number would not.

Government has proven itself to be inept at running anything approximating a profitable business, consider Bart as just one example, why would this "green-branded" so called "clean energy" scheme be any different. PG&E already is mandated to obtain a significant amount of energy from so called "green" sources.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Rick is a registered user.

PG&E definitely has it's problems - - the biggest and most profound is the State of California - Assembly, Senate and Governor. CA energy prices rank #6 out of 50 state - HI, AK, CT, MA, NH rank higher - notice anything? - all but AK are Dem-run states. The takeaway - 'What Could Go Wrong?'. Dear indentured MCE members - - the answer is everything. Sorry to be so jaded - but, 20-yrs in CA leaves me no option. Our PG&E rates are larded with a CA-government mandated 33% renewable power generation. So, how does a 50% rate make things "cheaper"?

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:23 am

So, one definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Staying with PG&E, as they continue to raise their prices seems pretty insane. Why not give something else a try? I applaud the region for going with MCE. One guarantee is an increase in use of green/renewable energy, with an option of 100% renewable energy. But with their 50% renewable, compared to 33% for PG&E, they are promising lower rates. Why wouldn't you want to give that a try. The only guarantee is that if you stay with PG&E, your rates will continue to rise. Just for perspective, here's my rates. As recently as November of 2015, my tier 1 electric rates were .167 per kwh. In January of 2016 it rose to .181. In October it rose to .183. In March of 2017 it rose to .20. In February of 2018 it rose to .21. So, in the last 2 1/2 years it has risen 26.7%. 26.7%?!?!?!?!. Think if other prices for things you normally use had risen that much. That's outrageous. That's why things like solar are so important, because prices are actually coming down on solar generation, not up, while prices for oil based energy continue to rise.

Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:32 am

Three of the reasons it’s cheaper is that (1) MCE doesn’t have shareholders so it doesn’t pay dividends, (2) it doesn’t pay its CEO and other executives enormous compensation, 7 top executives each make over $1.8 million PER YEAR and (3) it doesn’t pay taxes because it’s a non-profit.

Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:42 am

Steve Neither does BART and look how screwed up they are. Gov't can't do things efficiently.

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:00 am

Paul, so you prefer public utilities to be run like free market businesses? Let's see where that has worked out well, particularly in the energy utility side. Enron comes to mind. See, you can cherry pick any example and find bad apples. You can find many reasons to dislike BART, it is far from perfect, but for those that depend on it, it is a great alternative to sitting in traffic for hours and the associated stress, cost for gas, bridge tolls, wear and tear on your car and expensive parking. Renewable energy is the future, whether people like it or not. Prices are dropping and efficiency is increasing. Those are facts. Whether you agree or disagree about the impact humans are having on climate change, the facts of the economics cannot be argued with. Ask anyone that has ever installed solar on their home and they will tell you how great it is and how much they are saving. All it takes is a little common sense to see that this is a great opportunity for those served by MCE. We should all be grateful, until we have a reason not to be. The only guarantee is that PG&E's rate increases are leaving us all worse off. Why would anyone argue to continue that?

Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:30 am

If you read the entire literature they sent you you would see that MCE reviews pricing once a year except when PGE raises there schedule then MCE reviews their pricing again and could raise it. As it stands now MCE rates are with pennies of PGE and I suspect their rates will trend in the same direction as PGE. Homeowners who switched may save $10 month right now at best.

Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Even if MCE pricing was identical to PG&E pricing, it would be better when you consider that 50% of their energy minimum will be renewal energy vs. PG&E at 33%. And for people that want 100% renewable energy, they have that option too. Whether people disagree about the impact of humans on climate change or not, I think we can all agree that green energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels, so going from 33% to 50% is more than a 50% increase. That's gigantic. I'm struggling to understand how there is anything negative about this. Maybe because there isn't.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Rick is a registered user.

Dan - Nothing wrong with optimism. Also, nothing wrong with saving money. Let's meet back in this same spot in 5 yrs and see what actually has happened to our power bills. Solar and wind are no panacea, although many elevate renewables to Yahweh-esk levels. Long-horizon paybacks due to up-front costs are going to be with solar and wind for the near/mid-term. Pollyanna is much more likely to be disappointed than pleased - I'm definitely hoping for the latter - and, well, I suppose you can guess what I'm expecting. Don't forget, this is CA - everything is more expensive.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 5, 2018 at 9:52 pm

I agree with Dan--I can't find anything negative about having the choice to have more clean energy and lower energy costs with MCE. Friends in other parts of the Bay Area have had MCE for quite a while and are very happy with it. I listened to a recent MCE presentation and learned that they have to use the "opt out" model--it is a state requirement that when municipalities join a CCE that customers are automatically enrolled and must opt out to go back to PG&E. (Again, why anyone would opt out to pay more for dirtier energy makes no sense to me.) And for anyone who feels that saving money with renewable energy is "Pollyanna-ish"--you need only look to our own San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The solar panels that are up on the high schools saved the district upwards of $5 million dollars in the first 4 years of operation. The information is on the SRVUSD website.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Danville
on Apr 6, 2018 at 8:48 am

Choice is great. Mandates are not. I can’t recall a time when a government promise of lower prices came true. There are times when the common good is best served by a utility model. Best way to go if you can is install solar and generate your own power, paying PG&E to maintain a distribution network. In theory we already have choice because the Independent System Operator that actually sources power to the grid that PGE operates has the option to source from all available sources, including solar, hydro, wind, natural gas, but they operate within the mandated renewable goal set by State of Ca. Personally Inopted put until the track record is proven and will opt back in after there is real performance data instead of promises.

Posted by John
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 6, 2018 at 8:55 am

MCE has a track record. They’ve been in business almost 10 years. This year their rates are 3-4% below PG&E. Will they always be below PG&E? No, but that is they’re goal.

As Steve said, they don’t pay taxes, dividends or multimillion dollar salaries. They’re costs are less. The transmission charges are separate and equal.

Posted by TL Nelson
a resident of Blackhawk
on Apr 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

MCE should explain that they do not invest in or produce "green energy". They are only energy brokers who trade in energy credits. I cannot see how they add any value to just staying with PG&E. There is only a certain amount of green energy out there. Unless they are making new investments, they are not doing anything to increase the supply. I have friends in El Cerrito who have been on MCE for two years now. They check their bill every month against PG&E rates. The total bill has been within pennies each month vs what it would have been with PG&E. MCE's only objective is to make money from an unsuspecting public.

Posted by Ralph
a resident of Danville
on Apr 17, 2018 at 8:48 am

MCE IS investing in new renewable energy projects both in Contra Costa County and throughout the state. Ribbon cutting on a new solar project in Richmond is next month. MCE was a major investor.

PG&E raised their rates in March this year and MCE didn’t. The cost differences will increase this year.

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