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Power On! Sonoma Clean Power Celebrates Providing Electricity to First Customers

©2014 Sonoma Clean Power Authority
©2014 Sonoma Clean Power Authority
The Sonoma Clean Power Authority began supplying electricity service to its first customers today.

The Authority's board of directors marked the occasion this morning with a ceremony during which board chair Susan Gorin connected a plug into an outlet on a Sonoma Clean Power sign with blue LED lights.

Sonoma Clean Power is a new electricity provider run independently by Sonoma County and participating local cities, using what the Authority says are cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.

There are 23,070 accounts in the first phase of Sonoma Clean Power, 16,845 commercial ones and 6,225 residential ones. Sonoma County residents can opt out of Sonoma Clean Power and continue their current PG&E service.

Sonoma Clean Power CEO Geof Syphers said opt-out rates are lower than expected, with 7.6 percent of Phase 1 customers opting out so far.

"This is the single largest step Sonoma County has taken so far to address climate change," Syphers said.

Syphers said because PG&E raised rates today, Sonoma Clean Power will save its customers between 4 and 5 percent on electricity charges, or an estimated $6 million in fiscal year 2014-2015.

PG&E will continue billing services to Sonoma Clean Power users, turn power on and off when customers move, maintain power lines and handle emergencies.

Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor, Cotati and unincorporated Sonoma County are currently members of Sonoma Clean Power. Rohnert Park and Petaluma have not joined and Cloverdale's City council will hear a presentation on May 14.

Most residential customers will be eligible to join Sonoma Clean Power at the start of 2015 or 2016. Commercial customers are eligible to join now.

In his report to the board of directors today, Syphers said Sonoma Clean Power does not guarantee its rates will always be lower than PG&E because its rates, like PG&E's rates, will fluctuate with expenses.

Syphers said Sonoma Clean Power does promise it is dedicated to keeping rates stable and competitive and will generally adjust rates once a year.

--Bay City News

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