RP council hears presentation from Sonoma Clean Power
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By Jud Snyder  May 17, 2013 12:00 am

As promised, promoters of Sonoma Clean Power presented their case to Rohnert Park’s City Council Tuesday night in city hall. Third District Supervisor Shirlee Zane introduced the speakers, who included Cordel Stillman of the Sonoma County Water Agency, the group guiding the spokesmen with the aid of a fact sheet and PowerPoint display, Steven Shupe, deputy county counsel, Woody Hastings from Climate Protection Campaign and others from the CPC.

The council didn’t take any action. They just listened to their presentation, asked questions, got answers and will probably vote on drafting  a resolution to support it or turn it down at a later meeting. 

Simplistically put, PG&E will buy power from alternative sources like wind and solar, accept it and this will ultimately lead to slightly lower rates for electricity from PG&E. Early estimates from SCP say residential electricity rates could diminish from 1.8 percent below to 1.1 percent above average PG&E rates. Commercial rate predictions are even better: 3.1 percent below PG&E rates to 0.5 percent above. SCP’s intent is to buy enough local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that PG&E doesn’t normally depend on. 

Naturally, the statewide utility isn’t exactly keen on this intrusion and has spent many dollars countering its formula. Shupe provided a worst case scenario if PG&E has to pay too much for SCP electricity than everyone has to pay higher rates to cover it. “But this is an extremely unlikely situation.”

“Give the people a choice,” said Zane.

“SCP should be able to perform all they stated,” said Hastings. One of SCP’s selling points was, “PG&E collects about $12 million for efficiency programs but ratepayers have no say over what programs are implemented.”

It appeared like a pretty good deal to the city council. But the final decision is still a few weeks off.

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