Sonoma joins new power agency

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The city council Monday put the Sonoma into Sonoma Clean Power Authority with a unanimous vote to join the public program when it amps up in January.

Sonoma becomes the fifth city to join the county-owned power agency, which promises more electricity supplied from clean, renewable resources than PG&E.

Councilmember Steve Barbose will represent Sonoma on the governing board of the new agency. With Sonoma on board, nearly 80 percent of the county will have SCP as its default provider, including El Verano, Boyes Hot Springs and all other unincorporated areas.

Residents as well as businesses will automatically be enrolled, in gradual numbers, over a two-year period. Customers will always be able to opt out of the county program in favor of PG&E.

SCP’s goal is to keep rates comparable with PG&E rates while providing a greener product sourced from wind, geothermal and small hydroelectric projects. PG&E will continue to handle transmission, metering, customer service, billing and repairs.

While the energy mix will differ, rates will show little change. In Sonoma, the average bill is expected to run from 3.1 percent below to 0.5 percent above that of PG&E.

The council vote was 4-0 in favor, with Laurie Gallian abstaining because her husband works for PG&E.