Seven new municipalities are poised to join the Marin Clean Energy (MCE) joint powers authority, according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal – which could mean lower energy prices for all participants.
MCE is a public, not-for-profit electricity provider that offers all 54.4 million Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) electric customers in northern and central California – residential, commercial, and municipal – the opportunity to receive from 50 percent to 100 percent of their electricity supplied from renewable sources at competitive rates.
Dawn Weisz, Marin Clean Energy’s executive officer, told the newspaper that the extra revenue generated by the addition of American Canyon, Calistoga, Lafayette, Napa, St. Helena, Walnut Creek, and Yountville could result in an average 8 percent reduction in Marin Clean Energy’s rates.
Combined, the seven municipalities approved by Marin Clean Energy’s board on April 21 have about 94,000 electricity accounts. All but about 10,000 of the accounts are residential. Customers will be given the option of joining Marin Clean Energy, or of opting out and remaining customers of PG&E. Regardless of their choice, they will continue to pay PG&E for maintenance of power lines and other delivery equipment.
“We did not anticipate the interest that we’ve seen from the neighboring communities that have now become members and are continuing to express interest in membership,” Weisz said. “It speaks to the interest the communities have in providing choice….”
She said the addition of the new members could result in lower rates for MCE customers because there will be more revenue to cover MCE’s fixed costs and because energy purchased to service new customers will be cheaper than energy previously purchased.
Indeed, MCE claims that the monthly generation rate for an average MCE light green residential customer is $37.97, while the rate for an average PG&E residential customer is $44.89. Marin Clean Energy customers, however, also have to pay PG&E a monthly exit fee that varies in size depending on when the customer joined MCE.
Weisz said MCE is not looking to grow beyond the four counties that it is currently serving: Marin, Solano, Napa and Contra Costa. She said there are additional municipalities within those counties, however, that may want to participate.