Marin Clean Energy (MCE) – California’s first community choice aggregator, serving ratepayers since 2010 – announced on June 22 that it would reduce electricity rates by an average of 9 percent, effective September 1.
Specifically, the price of the company’s MCE Light Green 50 Percent service will be a little less than the cost of regional utility Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) 30 Percent renewable energy service for typical homes and businesses.
The move comes just as MCE prepares to offer its Light Green 50 Percent service to seven more municipalities, also in September: American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek.
Based in San Rafael, MCE offers PG&E customers the opportunity to buy 50 percent to 100 percent of their electricity supplied from renewable sources – such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric – at competitive rates.
PG&E continues to provide all gas services, electric delivery, billing, and power line maintenance. MCE only replaces electric generation services – currently serving over 170,000 customers in Marin and Napa Counties; as well as the cities of Richmond, Benicia, El Cerrito, and San Pablo.
“We’re excited to pass along this rate decrease to our community, because we’re committed to stable and competitive rates for residential and business customers while we redefine the energy landscape with renewable choices,” commented MCE CEO Dawn Weisz.
MCE’s Light Green 50% renewable energy is MCE’s standard service and the default for customers. According to the most recently verified 2015 California Energy Commission power content labels, MCE’s Light Green service was 63 percent carbon-free, as compared to PG&E’s 59 percent carbon-free, 30 percent renewable energy service.
For customers interested in using even cleaner energy, MCE offers a second option: Deep Green 100 Percent renewable energy. The Deep Green choice, available for any electricity user in MCE’s service area, guarantees purchase of 100 percent Green-e Energy certified wind and solarpower. Deep Green is 1 cent more per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is about $5 more per month for the typical home.
MCE promotes Deep Green businesses, also known as Deep Green Champions, with print, web and email marketing efforts. Half of the revenue generated from Deep Green goes toward building local solar projects in MCE’s service areas, the company claims.
What’s more, the aggregator said that, “in its six years of operations, [MCE] has never changed rates more than once a year,” noting that, “Those rates are developed, discussed, evaluated and approved by MCE’s Board of Directors at public meetings that encourage participation and prioritize transparency. MCE does not use taxpayer dollars, but instead reinvests in communities by providing low and stable rates, and by fostering local renewable development projects and expanding energy efficiency programs.”
When services are expanded to a wider customer base in September, MCE is hoping to add as many as 94,000 customers.
As Marin Clean Energy spreads out to these new service areas, residents are automatically switched to MCE unless they opt out – and they must pay an exit fee to PG&E. That exit fee nearly doubled this year, after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted a request filed by PG&E in January.