In the News

WHY DOES YOUR DECEMBER ELECTRICITY BILL LOOK DIFFERENT?, Berkeleyside, December 11

Some Berkeley residents were puzzled when they opened their electric bills this month, noticing a new “East Bay Community Energy” charge. Unless they opted out, Berkeley ratepayers were automatically switched over to a new electricity provider in November. EBCE is run by Alameda County, which purchases and provides the energy instead of PG&E, which still handles billing and manages power lines.

COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION CAN ACCELERATE LOCAL SOLAR GROWTH IN CITIES AND COUNTIES, Solar Power World, December 4

CCAs are growing, especially in California. The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) announced in November that CCAs in the state have signed long-term contracts with new renewable energy facilities totaling more than 2 GW, “reflecting a strong commitment by CCAs to drive clean energy and economic development in California and help the state achieve ambitious decarbonization and climate change goals,” according to a CalCCA press release.

COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION PUTS COMMUNITIES IN CONTROL OF THEIR ELECTRICITY, Union of Concerned Scientists, September 10

CCAs offer an alternative to traditional utilities and are designed to give communities a voice in where their electricity comes from. In California, many CCAs are striving to provide their customers with more renewable energy at lower costs than traditional utilities.

COMMUNITY CHOICE IS DRIVING CALIFORNIA’S PRECOCIOUS ENERGY REVOLUTION, Forbes, August 2

California is on track to meet its clean-energy goals a decade early thanks in part to communities demanding and delivering renewable energy faster and cheaper than utilities can, according to a report released this morning. A growing number of Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) in California are not only delivering a higher percentage of renewable energy than utilities, they’re also causing utilities to offer a higher percentage, according to the report by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

 

New energy provider begins this month in Alameda County

Source: East Bay Times

A new electrical source is available to power the homes, offices and businesses of Alameda County residents.

East Bay Community Energy, launching this month, promises greener and in some cases less expensive service to about 568,000 Pacific Gas & Electricity customers, who are getting automatically enrolled as a result of their local city council or county supervisors joining the program.

East Bay Community Energy is purchasing solar, wind and renewable hydroelectric energy and will partner with PG&E to distribute it.

PG&E will still handle billing and maintain the pipes and wires that distribute the energy, plus the utility will continue responding to requests and emergencies.

Nevertheless, the switch has confused some customers, especially because they must choose which level of service they want from the new provider, despite the automatic changeover.

Adding to the mix is that it’s up to the customer whether to opt out if they want to stay with PG&E.

“I really didn’t understand it when I read about it,” said Shannon Elliott, a house owner in Oakland’s Rockridge district. “It was too confusing, so I basically just dropped it and forgot about it.”

Marc Cryan, 25, of Berkeley, said he knew nothing about the change because the utilities in his apartment are in his roommate’s name.

“But if it’s good for the environment, then I support it,” Cryan said.

Alameda County residents can choose one of three levels under East Bay Community Energy: “Bright Choice,” which is 38 percent renewable and 47 percent carbon free; “Brilliant 100,” which is 40 percent renewable and 60 percent carbon free; and “Renewable 100,” which is 100 percent renewable and carbon-free energy.

Bright Choice rates will be 1.5 percent lower than at PG&E, according to East Bay Community Energy. Brilliant 100 will be offered at the same price as PG&E. People who choose Renewable 100, however, can expect to pay about $4 more each month.

The switch for residential customers in Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Piedmont, Oakland, San Leandro, Union City and unincorporated areas of Alameda County is happening this month. Businesses were automatically enrolled in June.

“Residents of Alameda County and our 11 partner cities can now power their homes with cleaner energy,” Nick Chaset, East Bay Community Energy’s chief executive officer, said in a release. “We are committed to building a sustainable East Bay for years to come.”

Newark and Pleasanton have not joined East Bay Community Energy. Alameda is not taking part since it has its own municipal utility.

A joint powers authority, East Bay Community Energy was formed in 2016 and is governed by a board made up of one elected official from each participating jurisdiction and one non-voting representative from a community advisory committee.

The board, which meets once a month in public session, sets rates and determines the mix of power sources.

The nonprofit’s creation followed state lawmakers passing legislation in 2002 for community choice aggregation, which allows municipal governments to decide which power providers to contract with on behalf of ratepayers — a flexibility that has become an attractive way among some to counter climate change.

Along with East Bay Community Energy, others community choice agencies that have started over the past few years include Marin Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, as well San Jose Clean Energy and South Bay Clean Power.

Twenty such agencies are projected to be operating in California by 2020.

All customers who do not opt out and do not choose a level of service will be enrolled in Bright Choice by default, except for Hayward and Albany. In those cities, unless customers choose a different option among service levels, they will be enrolled in the more expensive Brilliant 100 as a default. In Piedmont, the default is Renewable 100, the most expensive choice.

That is as a result of what elected officials in those cities felt would mostly closely align with their climate action plans, said Annie Henderson, an East Bay Community Energy spokeswoman.

So far, just 7,352 out of 568,916 eligible PG&E accounts have opted out, according to a background report for East Bay Community Energy’s Nov. 7 board meeting. Most are customers in Livermore and Oakland.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, the chair of East Bay Community Energy’s board, said some residents have told him the program should have asked people if they wished to opt in, rather than opt out.

The enrollment structure was required under state law, he said.

“I am very proud of the collaboration between all the cities that joined us, organized labor and the advocates for clean energy; together we have developed the best (community choice aggregation) in the state,” Haggerty said in an email.

East Bay Community Energy will be doing community outreach over the next few weeks, including 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the San Lorenzo Library, 395 Paseo Grande; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 17 at the downtown Berkeley Farmers Market, Center Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way; and 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 29 at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.

Alameda County’s New Electricity Provider – East Bay Community Energy Launches Clean Electricity to Residential Customers

Alameda County, CA (November 8, 2018) – Alameda County residents living in the cities of Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Piedmont, Oakland, San Leandro, Union City as well as unincorporated areas of the county have a new electricity provider as East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) launches its clean energy services throughout November. EBCE serves more than 500,000 accounts across the county, which represent a population of nearly 1.4 million people. Customers are automatically enrolled in the service based on their local city council or board of supervisors joining the EBCE program.

The residential launch marks a major milestone for Alameda County, as customers now enjoy a greener, lower cost choice for electricity. As one of the state’s newest and largest Community Choice Energy providers, EBCE is governed by a board of local elected officials and its meetings are open to the public. EBCE’s mission is to provide higher percentages of renewable and carbon-free energy compared to PG&E at competitive rates. EBCE will also invest in local energy-related programs within its participating communities.

“Residents of Alameda County and our 11 partner cities can now power their homes with cleaner energy. We are committed to building a sustainable East Bay for years to come,” says Nick Chaset, Chief Executive Officer of EBCE.

Residents have a choice between three EBCE services: Bright Choice, Brilliant 100, and Renewable 100. The standard service, Bright Choice, offers customers a 1.5% discount compared to their PG&E rate while receiving 5% more renewable energy. Customers can also choose Brilliant 100, which provides 100% carbon-free service for the same cost compared to PG&E, or opt up to Renewable 100, which provides 100% renewable & carbon-free energy sourced by solar and wind sources from within California.

A not-for-profit government agency, East Bay Community Energy will keep its rates competitive and reinvest earnings back into the community to create local green energy jobs and clean power projects that benefit the Alameda County economy within the program’s area.

ABOUT EBCE
East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is a public agency power supplier, committed to providing electricity generated from a high percentage of renewable sources such as solar and wind. As of November 2018, Alameda County residents and businesses now have a greener choice for the source of electricity that powers their homes and businesses.

For more information about EBCE, visit ebce.org

EBCE Media Contact
Annie Henderson
ahenderson@ebce.org
510-640-9681

EBCE PR Contact
Rochelle Germano
R.Germano@circlepoint.com

EBCE to Launch for Commercial Customers in June

Alameda County, CA (April 18, 2018) – East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is one step closer to providing clean electricity to unincorporated Alameda County and eleven of its cities: Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, and Union City. Starting in June, commercial and municipal businesses within the EBCE service area will be automatically enrolled to receive cleaner energy. Residents will be enrolled in November. EBCE will become the electricity provider for the service area, partnering with PG&E for power distribution, customer service, and billing.

EBCE is scheduled to provide more renewable energy than PG&E at lower rates. As the state’s newest Community Choice Energy provider, EBCE is locally governed and its processes are completely transparent, with Board and Community Advisory Committee meetings open to the public. Moreover, EBCE will reinvest earnings back into the communities it serves. This will create local jobs and provide economic benefits to the Alameda County community, while also retaining local involvement in energy choices.

EBCE will provide two services to all customers: Bright Choice and Brilliant 100. The basic service is Bright Choice, which is powered by at least 38% renewable energy and an additional 47% carbon-free energy (together, a total of 85% carbon-free) and offered at a 1.5% discount to the corresponding PG&E rate. Customers may also choose Brilliant 100 service, which provides a 100% carbon-free service for the same cost as the corresponding PG&E rate. EBCE will purchase solar, wind, and small hydroelectric renewable energy, which is all carbon-free, and will purchase large hydroelectric power as supplemental carbon-free energy. Over time, EBCE will increase the amount of renewable energy in its power mix.

“We’re excited to bring this new service to Alameda County,” says Nick Chaset, CEO of EBCE. “Businesses will now be able to power their work with more renewable energy that doesn’t affect their bottom line.”

In an effort to support sustainability goals, commercial customers in Albany and Hayward will be enrolled in Brilliant 100 automatically at the start of service. As leaders against climate change setting the example for their communities, the cities of Albany, Emeryville, Hayward, and Piedmont have placed all of their city’s accounts on Brilliant 100 service.

Some businesses have already chosen to opt up to the Brilliant 100 service, such as Numi Organic Teas.

“EBCE helps Numi Tea to meet our eco-responsibility goals by providing clean power options like Brilliant 100, which provides 100% carbon-free power from renewables and hydro at the same price as PG&E rates,” says Jane Franch. Director of Quality, Sourcing & Sustainability at Numi Organic Tea in Oakland.

Residents have the opportunity to become “Early Adopters”, and enroll in EBCE service prior to automatic enrollment. Spaces are limited and requests to participate as an Early Adopter must be submitted by May 25th.

About EBCE
East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is a public agency power supplier, committed to providing electricity generated from a high percentage of renewable sources such as solar and wind. Set to roll-out from June through November 2018, Alameda County residents and businesses will soon have a new greener choice for the source of electricity that powers our homes and businesses.

For more information about EBCE, please visit ebce.org

EBCE Media Contact
Annie Henderson
510-640-9681

EBCE PR Contact
Rochelle Germano
510-285-6726