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Town of Ross to Buy Marin Clean Energy Power

Days after Novato chooses to stick with PG&E, Ross figures it will save money by going with PG&E's rival.

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.

Jim Phelps June 17, 2012 at 12:19 AM
PART 2: The enXco prices are super high over the 25-yr solar contract. The first few years MEA pays ~12.5 cents, or about 80% higher than MEA’s current prices. The G2 landfill gas “clean” energy is about 10.5 cents, or about 50% higher than MEA’s current prices. (I don’t think Rio Solar will make it out of surgery, so let’s forget that for now.). All of these substitution-energies-that-may-replace-some-SENA-energy have a weighted effect that drives up MEA’s current prices. The above is in addition to escalators that are built into the SENA contract, which I note above. All of this, while Dawn Weisz parades through Marin telling naïve consumers that MEA’s contracts have small built-in rate escalators that account for inflation. Perhaps she is talking about the sort of inflation that is about to hit the Greek banking system.
Jim Phelps June 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM
PART 1: MEA’s rates are manipulated to influence Residential Opt Outs. Feb 2, MEA announced prices (see 02.02.2012 Agenda item #16) that were -12% for Residential consumers, or 7.5 cents. All other rate classes got essentially zero reduction, save for Street Lighting and Large Commercial/Industrial (MMWD pumping). Feb 8, two LTEs to Marin IJ identified that PG&E prices would be 20% lower than MEA. On Feb 12, IJ Editorial identified that MEA prices would be 10% higher than PG&E. March 1, MEA revised its Residential rates to -18% of Residential rate revenue = 6.9 cents. MEA rate consultant John Dalessi (ex-Navigant) is involved in all pricing and price scenarios. He’s paid ~$318,000/yr. He notes that the revised SENA contract (02.02.2012) enabled this reduction (March 1 Agenda item #8). ... He didn’t know what was happening when he authored agenda #16 for the MEA Board on Feb 2? Isn’t he the financial planning rate planner?). Okay, then why did Residential get a huge reduction when the other MEA rate classes got comparatively socked? It’s evident MEA wanted to influence Opt Outs.
Jim Phelps June 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
"Rebekah" pls read this: http://millvalley.patch.com/blog_posts/marin-energy-authority-same-power-just-greener
Bob Ratto June 17, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Jim Thanks for answering my question from yesterday afternoon...so there was massive rate manipulation, which was undoubtedly brought about by Shell/EnXco essentially monopolizing power for MEA. Throw in a "token" green project (San Rafael Airport, which I believe they are not even constructing, just buying power from), and this all starts to become more clear. Marin is truly the county with more money than sense, or it has become that way...thanks for all your hard work, it is very appreciated.
Jim Phelps June 17, 2012 at 06:08 AM
MEA will window dress a sizable rate increase by citing need to procure power to serve Richmond load, which starts in 2014 I believe. MEA needs to buy ~30% add'l power to serve Richmond, or about 300,000 MWHs/ yr. Therefore, MEA needs +150,000 MWHs new renewables if it's 50% "renewable" energy. I checked MEA Tech Committee posting for June and they show MEA purchases ~ +75,000 MWHs/ yr of RECs to serve Richmond -- consistent with what MEA now pulling on Marin (are you reading this Dawn?). "Actually our renewable content is 50% of 50% and that's NOT delivered." BTW, yesterday, MEA's Jamie Tuckey presented to Novato Rotary. When questioned about RECs she told the group that only 8% of the 2011 Light Green energy was RECs -- that's right out of Weisz's playbook -- oh, you wanted the whole truth. http://meatruth.org/PDF/Binder1_.pdf

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