Sonoma Clean Power Authority began supplying electricity service to its first customers today.The
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
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
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
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
--Bay City News