How Much Marin Clean Energy Cost Will You

The average MCE residential customer can expect to pay approximately $2.50 more per month than with PG&E, according to Marin Clean Energy information.

New cost comparison data shows that Marin Clean Energy customers can expect to pay slightly more than if they stay with Pacific Gas and Electric as their power company.

The average MCE residential customer can expect to pay approximately $2.50 more per month than with PG&E, according to Marin Clean Energy information released Thursday. Commercial customers can expect to pay approximately $3.31 less in a summer month and $4.67 more in a winter month.

“We are extremely pleased to offer Marin electric customers an affordable choice of 50 percent renewable energy” said Damon Connolly, MEA Chairman and San Rafael Councilman. “We strive to keep our rates stable and affordable while providing a superior product to our customers and look forward to helping shape a more sustainable future here in Marin County.”

MCE, which offers 50 percent renewable energy compared with PG&E’s 20 percent, will be offering enrollment in their energy program to all Marin residents and businesses in July 2012 unless customers decide to opt out.

The cost of electricity for all Marin County customers includes charges for generation, transmission, distribution, and a variety of other taxes and fees like Public Purpose Programs and Nuclear Decommissioning. Marin Clean Energy charges customers for electric generation services while PG&E continues to charge for all of the other non-generation electricity related services at the same rates that would otherwise apply.

The following chart compares average PG&E and MCE generation rates for residential and commercial customers effective July 1, 2012.  PG&E generation rates are based on PG&E Advice Filing 4044-E.


MCE 50% Renewable Energy

PG&E 20% Renewable Energy

Residential Generation (MCE RES-1, PG&E E-1)



Commercial Generation

(MCE COM-1, PG&E A-1)

$0.083/kWh (summer)

$0.09278/kWh (summer)

$0.055/kWh (winter)

$0.05870/kWh (winter)

Although PG&E’s average generation rates for both commercial and residential customers are more costly than MCE’s generation rates, PG&E also imposes an exit fee on MCE customers which is intended to account for PG&E’s above market energy costs. This exit fee can result in a slightly higher overall cost for MCE customers.

Credits to be issued in this fall

Due to actions at the California Public Utilities Commission and regulatory efforts of MEA and other parties, PG&E will be reducing the exit fee for all customers beginning on July 1, 2012.  A credit for overpayment of the fee will be applied retroactively to April, 2011. Existing MCE customers can expect to receive a refund on their PG&E bill in the fall for overpayment of the PCIA between April, 2011 and July, 2012.

Calculator to be announced

Marin Clean Energy will soon be announcing the release of an on-line rate calculator to help customers determine what the cost differential will be to switch from PG&E’s 20 percent renewable energy to MCE’s 50 percent renewable energy in July 2012. More information is available at: www.marincleanenergy.com

Lisa May 25, 2012 at 03:26 PM
A small price to pay for going green. I am so happy we are being offered this opportunity to go green.
Likes Facts May 25, 2012 at 06:41 PM
It's great to have such a thorough and fact-based outline of relevant information. Thank you, Patch staff, this is a real public service.
Leda May 25, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Actually according to an April 24, 2012 news release, PG&E is already over 50% "green" sources and has a program on the table for 100% green options. (See 'Newsroom' on the PG&E website. You need to ask yourself how can paying more with MCE for fewer "green options" be better? This all just MCE marketing to get your dollars and make you think you are doing good for the Earth, when it is just putting more $$ in the MCE accounts!! Opt out now!!
Tina McMillan May 25, 2012 at 09:27 PM
http://www.pge.com/about/environment/pge/cleanenergy/ "Clean Energy Solutions PG&E delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to our customers. And we are planning for the future by exploring new sources of renewable technologies. We are also actively involved in investing in state-of-the-art, cleaner sources of fossil fuel-based power to meet growing demand." "Delivering Low-Emission Energy On average, approximately half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from a combination of renewable and greenhouse gas-free resources. PG&E customers benefit from more than 90 MW of wind energy generated from an Iberdrola Renewables site in Sherman County, Oregon. The power mix we provided to our customers in 2010 consisted of non-emitting nuclear generation (23.8 percent), large hydroelectric facilities (15.6 percent) and eligible renewable resources (15.9 percent), such as wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydro. The remaining portion came from natural gas/fossil (21.8 percent) and unspecified sources (22.9 percent). Unspecified sources refers to electricity that is not traceable to specific generation sources by any auditable contract trail."
Tina McMillan May 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The only way MEA can claim 50% renewable energy is through the purchase of REC's (renewable energy credits). To understand more about how MEA please check this link. http://meatruth.org/ You can go directly to a PGE site where you can calculate your usage based on the tier system. Our family pays more during the winter when we use our gas furnace along with our woodstove to heat our home. In the summer we have floor and ceiling fans but no air conditioner so our electrical bills tend to be lower. http://www.pge.com/myhome/myaccount/charges/ I am not sure what is being measured by the above chart but it looks as if they are saying for a few dollars more you can feel like you are conserving energy and protecting the planet. I suggest that you take the time to research both options and consider taking the longer trail to renewable energy through PGE rather than fast track feeling good by giving money to Shell Oil and Electricite Francaise. If you care about your energy use then conservation is the best way to protect the planet.
Jim Phelps May 26, 2012 at 05:25 AM
PG&E's prices are currently being reviewed by the California Public Utilities Commission. The Commission has until June 16th to vote out the pending rate decision. No one knows rates until about a week after that. MEA's green energy content includes RECs and landfill gas to energy (LFGTE). RECs are a problem unto themselves. LFGTE presents its own environmental questions. Last year 50.5% of MEA's renewable energy content was LFGTE. The Sierra Club unanimously concludes LFGTE results in INCREASED greenhouse gas emissions. MEA prefers that the Sierra Club report would go away. MEA executed an 18-year contract and a 20-year contract with two landfills before the Sierra Club report was discussed. http://millvalley.patch.com/blog_posts/meas-conflict-with-the-sierra-club-d04d611f
Ms Steinberg May 26, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Does landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) result in increased emissions? Can MEA legitimately hide behind the EPA and California regulators' positions that LFGTE is okay if MEA's primary concern is the environment? Maybe for the time being, but here's an interesting excerpt from that Sierra Club landfill gas report's Appendix... "Changes in landfill operation linked to LFGTE increase uncontrolled methane releases. In recent years, the landfill industry has made widespread operational changes to increase revenues from energy production but with potentially significant impacts on our climate. These unfortunate practices were never contemplated in EPA's landfill rules and have never been officially vetted for their GHG implications."
Ms Steinberg May 26, 2012 at 05:47 AM
PS: How much does Dawn Weiz make at MEA while tossing out local jobs out of state? Around $250,000!!! What a lush non-profit! The MEA rate payers will be paying her salary with their soon to be out of site bills! Wasn't Weiz making a mere $50,000 a year and now she is in bed with the establishment and making six figures! Opt out now and say enough is enough (unless you make $250,000 a year or more like Dawn). Dawn is skipping and laughing all the way to the bank off of your dollars!
Ron ludwig May 26, 2012 at 08:35 AM
I opted out the day I received the notice. I do not like being told I have to take something I don't want and then being told I have to pay more for exactly what I'm already getting now. And, I especially do not like being lied to. Of course, actually finding the rate information in their website was no easy chore either.
Rico May 27, 2012 at 04:24 AM
From the PG&E bill, there is not only a generation charge, there is also : Transmission Distribution Public Purpose Programs Nuclear Decommissioning DWR Bond Charge Ongoing OTC Energy Cost Recovery Account. So, here are the real rates, and tack on a middleman markup for MCE customers. Baseline $0.12845 Tier 1 $0.14602 Tier 2 $0.29518 Tier 3 $0.33518 Tier 4 $0.33518 And in a few years the new time differential pricing scheme will be tested on customers who have SmartMeters. The rates will be jacked up during the hours of 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm to up to $1.20 per kilowatt hour, plus any MCE markup brokerage fees. So, lets see some true figures from MCE about the actual cost increases if a customer joins MCE.
Claudia B. May 27, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Ricardo and Jim, Thank you. So from what I am reading, there is no point in staying in with MEA as it is not green and does not help the environment. My question to both of you is how come people are falling for this and how does MEA get away with it?
Randy Engle May 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Maybe, maybe not. I'm just not convinced that MCE is all that it's cracked up to be. Not cynical, just a wary of new "programs" capitalizing on trends.
Jim Phelps May 27, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I think most people are so busy trying to pay the rent or mortgage that it's easier to believe what MEA says. MEA's Board is not terribly bright -- it doesn't have the expertise to vet what its consultants tell it. But it is fashionable to be a Board member. Years ago MEA's concept was great -- it was pure and transparent -- but the concept morphed as its consultants gained power, as leadership weakened, and as Dawn Weisz's salary has skyrocketed. Much of MEA may now be categorized as propaganda... ... renewable energy certificates (RECs) are a shame. But MEA tells everyone how green it is while it packs its energy portfolio full of these paper instruments that are NOT delivered green energy, and that do not help Marin's air quality. Very sad.
Rico May 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Average commercial and residential customers ? Come on ! There is really no such thing as an average electricity customer in Marin county. With the variations of micro climates between north Marin, central Marin, southern Marin and west Marin for one affect air conditioning loads. Then there is the type of housing, for instance, a large single family house up in Indian Valley is going to consume 10 times more electricity than a condo/apartment in Hamilton. And all of west Marin has no PG&E gas lines, so they will use proportionately more electricity on their total energy bill from PG&E. Some use trucked in Propane, but not all. And some use wood for heat too, so there really is no average. And commercial users, if your Safeway has an electric bill of $25,000 per month, and your Red Boy Pizza has an electric bill for $700 per month, what is average ? And about rate increases from PG&E : On April 16, 2011, PG&E filed an application with the CPUC requesting changes to electric rates effective Jan. 1 2013. This increase will seeks to recover costs incurred by PG&E to comply with the mandated Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade (MRTU) initiative This increase will be around 0.07 percent., over and above the MCE broker markup fee. So, your average family living in a single family detached house with an "average" bill of around $1500 per month will see a much larger increase with MCE than a person living in a rented condo/apartment in the Hamilton Housing Projects.
Rico May 29, 2012 at 01:49 AM
The single largest consumer of electricity in central Marin is the Marin Municipal Water District, and all electricity costs are directly paid for by the MMWD ratepayers. That is one of the main reasons for our recent rate increases, even though the MMWD would never admit it. It just so happens that the former GM of the MMWD (Paul) and a former supervisor from Marin (Chas) cooked up a deal for the ratepayers of the MMWD to loan the MEA $1 million for seed money to start up the new electricity brokerage agency.. And miraculously, in one year, the MEA was able to repay the loan that we the MMWD ratepayers benevolently gave them without our vote or consent . How did they do it ?. It is because the electricity accounts that the MMWD has with the MEA have added an increase in electricity costs of $250,000 per quarter, or $1 million per year OVER what we were previously paying PG&E for those accounts, that is how they did it. And the MMWD has other electric accounts also, some to pay the SCWA. The MEA was crafted when the MMWD was pushing the desalination plant. Thank goodness that Judge Lynn Duryee shot that down ! The whole scam was just another Ponzi scheme, and the people that have not realized it yet are in for a world of financial hurt.


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