Two days after Novato took a flier and said "no thanks," the Ross Town Council on Thursday voted 4-1 to enroll their municipal electric accounts with Marin Clean Energy’s light green 50 percent renewable energy service option, according to a Marin Clean Energy release.
A cost analysis using final rates to become effective on July 1 for both Marin Clean Energy and PG&E indicated that switching to MCE would save the town about $87.56 per year on electric generation costs.
“We’re glad that we’re able to purchase cleaner energy on behalf of the town," said Chris Martin, a Ross council member and Marin Energy Authority board director. "It’s the right thing to do for the environment, and it also turns out to be not only competitive but a little bit cheaper than the investor-owned utility.”
Novato calculated that switching to the light green option would cost $7,800 more per year than staying with PG&E service. The — with Mayor Denise Athas in the minority — to decline enrollment with Marin Clean Energy.
But Marin Clean Energy said Novato did not conduct an apples-to-apples cost comparison. The analyses was done in early May before PG&E released revised rates that become effective on July 1. Rafael Silberblatt, a program coordinator with MCE, said MCE alerted Novato city staff to PG&E’s rate change and suggested that it ask PG&E to revise its cost analysis.
"Additionally, we asked PG&E directly to revise their comparison with the new proposed rates," Silverblatt wrote in an e-mail to MCE supporters. "Unfortunately, PG&E declined to do so citing that the revised rates were not yet approved. As a result of PG&E’s data being inaccurate, the cost comparison was far less favorable then it should have been."
This week the California Public Utilities Commission approved the revised rates for PG&E. Marin Clean Energy said those rates include higher generation costs and lower exit fees, making MCE a more cost-competitive choice.
"We have reached out to the city of Novato, whose council ... would like to reconsider enrollment after the July rates are approved, and requested to be included on an upcoming council meeting agenda right away," Silverblatt wrote.
Marin Clean Energy expects to release an online 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.