Yolo County and City of Davis Partner to Bring Choice to Local Electricity
Yolo County and the City of Davis have taken an important step to bring competition to the local electricity market. Both have voted unanimously to form the Valley Clean Energy Alliance (VCEA), a locally-based, not-for-profit electricity energy provider.
Scheduled to begin service in Fall 2017, VCEA is designed to deliver cost-competitive clean electricity, product choice, price stability and energy efficiency programs, as well as greenhouse gas emission reductions, to local electricity customers. Under this system, PG&E continues to get paid to maintain the electric wires and manage customer billing. Also, electricity customers can choose to remain with PG&E if they prefer.
For the past two years, the city and county have carefully studied the idea. Utilizing electricity industry experts, they commissioned a financial and technical feasibility study which was released in March of 2016. The study concluded that due to low wholesale energy prices, declining renewable energy costs and lower overhead, the local program could deliver cost-competitive, cleaner electricity while providing the opportunity to advance local energy efficiency and climate protection goals. The study is located on the city’s Sustainability web page.
“At this point, there is probably no other single action we, as a city, can take that will have as much impact on our collective greenhouse gas emissions,” said Davis Mayor Robb Davis. “Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs have shown the ability to deliver consumer choice and greener electricity with competitive pricing. Importantly, CCE programs allow for local control of electricity purchases and, thus, local accountability at a low risk. We are in a period of rapidly changing electricity generation options and a CCE enables us to proactively be part of that change – creating a more resilient supply of green energy to consumers.”
“We already have clean power generation capacity in Yolo County, the City of Davis and the City of Woodland,” said Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor. “It’s now a matter of combining our efforts and achieving the goals we set out in the Climate Action Plan.”
Council member Lucas Frerichs added, “Lots of work ahead, but this is another great example of how building strong partnerships between rural and urban interests can position us all for success in the future. We’re also excited that Woodland is engaged and showing real interest. For all the same reasons that this program is attractive to the county and Davis, this looks like it could be a good fit for them too.”
“The estimates on customer rate savings are encouraging, as well as the opportunity for unique rates and rate structures designed for specialized users such as agriculture and energy conservation,” said Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain.
Mayor Davis and Councilmember Frerichs will join Supervisors Saylor and Chamberlain as board members of the newly formed VCEA. The VCEA Board will guide the launch of the program and its on-going operations.
The program is similar to Community Choice programs that are in operation or in formation across the state, including programs in Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco and Southern California. In all, more than 100 cities and counties are either in operation or in the program formation stages. These locally-based programs are enabled by state law and are designed to make electricity purchasing decisions more accountable to customers.
To learn more or read the CCE Technical Study, visit the city’s Community Choice Energy web page at: http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/sustainability-program/community-choice-energy