The 2021 application period is now open. EBCE is seeking to fill five vacant and 10 alternate service area seats. If you are interested in being a Community Advisory Committee Member or Alternate, apply before 5:00 pm on Monday, 2/15/2021.Details and application
EBCE is the greener choice for the electricity that powers our homes and businesses in the East Bay. Choosing a local public power provider that places a high priority on renewable, carbon-free energy is an easy, economical way to help create a healthier environment. Do you have questions about EBCE?
Check out our FAQs below
If you don’t find the information you need, please contact us.
- How does EBCE work?
East Bay Community Energy purchases power with higher renewable content than PG&E. Other than receiving more renewable electricity at competitive prices, all other aspects of your electricity service remain the same. PG&E continues to deliver the electricity, maintain the power lines, handle billing, and respond to new service requests and emergencies. If you want to stay with PG&E for your electricity, you can opt out of East Bay Community Energy.
- When and where is EBCE service available?
EBCE started service to most municipal and commercial accounts in June 2018 and to residential customers in November 2018. EBCE serves Alameda County and 11 of its member cities (Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, and Union City). In 2019 the cities of Newark, Pleasanton, and Tracy adopted ordinances and resolutions to join EBCE’s Joint Powers Authority, and subsequently EBCE’s Board adopted a resolution to include those cities within EBCE’s Joint Powers Authority and service area, with customer enrollments to begin in 2021. The City of Alameda is not eligible as it has its own municipal electric utility.
- Does EBCE fully replace PG&E?
No. EBCE procures electricity for our customers, and PG&E delivers electricity to your home or business. PG&E also continues to handle the billing, turn on and off power when you move, maintain the power lines, and resolve outages. Those who prefer to have PG&E continue to buy their electricity can choose that option.
- So when the power goes out, PG&E will fix it?
Yes, absolutely. PG&E crews in their distinctive blue trucks will maintain the lines and repair them as needed, just as they do today.
- Where will you be buying the renewable electricity?
The power portfolio is currently under development, but to date EBCE has signed contracts to build over 550 megawatts of wind and solar power, and over 130 megawatts of battery storage. The intent is to purchase as much renewable electricity as possible from sources located in California at prices that remain competitive with PG&E. EBCE is subject to reporting requirements, just like PG&E, including a Power Content Label that is published annually in October for the previous year’s electricity.
- Are other counties considering this?
Cities and counties throughout California are already moving forward with similar programs. There are currently nineteen operational Community Choice Energy programs (CCEs) in California, and that number is estimated to grow in 2020, with a combined service area population of 18 million. According to a 2017 report from the Center for Climate Protection, CCEs will reduce at least 5 million metric tons of GHG emissions cumulatively compared to the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), and CCE customers will save $188 million more per year by the end of 2020 compared with what customers would have spent if they stayed with the incumbent utilities.
- What type of local reinvestment has been done in other programs?
MCE Clean Energy, which covers the counties of Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa, has already invested over $500 million in in-state and local renewable energy projects that have created over 2,400 construction and vendor jobs, with more coming soon. Sonoma Clean Power has found that developing local renewable energy projects within Sonoma County will result in lower rates by 2020, compared with buying electricity elsewhere.
Enrollment & Opt-Out
- When and where is EBCE service available?
EBCE started service to most municipal and commercial accounts in June 2018 and to residential customers in November 2018. NEM or solar accounts were enrolled on an ongoing basis throughout 2019. EBCE serves Alameda County and 11 of its member cities. Newark, Pleasanton, and Tracy will receive service from EBCE starting in 2021.
- How do I enroll in EBCE?
EBCE replaces PG&E as the default electricity provider throughout EBCE’s service area. Anyone with a PG&E electric account in these areas was automatically enrolled in EBCE.
- Why am I automatically enrolled in EBCE? Do I have a choice?
That’s the way the law governing the formation of CCE programs like EBCE was written. When a city or county decides to participate, all their residents and businesses are automatically enrolled. Nevertheless, if you wish to remain with PG&E, you may do so by opting out of EBCE. An online opt-out form is available.
- How do I opt out of EBCE?
Customers may opt out of EBCE. To do so, visit this page and complete the form, or call our call center at 1-833-699-EBCE (3223) and use the automated phone system, or talk with a customer service representative (available 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays). Note that unless you opt out, you will remain enrolled in EBCE service if your premise is in our service area.
- How do I stay with PG&E?
Customers may opt out of EBCE and stay with PG&E. To do so, visit this page and complete the form, or call our call center at 1-833-699-EBCE (3223) and use the automated phone system, or talk with a customer service representative (available 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays).
- I’ve heard that PG&E is charging an additional fee—an exit fee—for customers who leave. What’s that about?
That’s the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment or PCIA, sometimes called an “exit fee.” It will appear on your bill as a separate line item under the PG&E Electric Delivery Charges. PG&E has various long-term contracts for buying electricity for its customers; some are as long as 20 years. It bought power based on the number of customers it serves. The price is locked in, which is good when the cost of generating electricity is rising as one might expect over a long time period. Recently, however, the cost of natural gas, has been going down.
When customers switch to EBCE, PG&E needs to provide less electricity but still has to pay for the amount of power in its long-term contracts. So PG&E sells the excess power on the open market. Right now, contracted electricity generated by natural gas or renewable sources is selling for less than what PG&E paid for it. That difference is charged to EBCE customers under the guidance of the California Public Utilities Commission.
What’s most important to know is that EBCE’s rates—including the PCIA charge—will still be competitive with PG&E’s rates.
- I’ve heard that PG&E will lose jobs in the Bay Area with all the new local electricity providers.
The vast majority of PG&E employees provide transmission and distribution system maintenance and upgrades, billing, and customer service—all of which PG&E will continue to provide. There have not been any noticeable job losses in communities that have a second, local electricity provider—in fact new jobs have been created constructing and operating local energy generation facilities. The EBCE Technical Study also anticipates a net increase in good paying jobs as the result of the EBCE program.
- Can I return to EBCE if I opt out?
Customers who opt out within the first 60 days of EBCE service may return to EBCE at any time. Based on state law, customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with EBCE must wait one year before returning to EBCE.
- Is there a fee for opting out?
Customers may be charged a one-time termination fee of $5 per residential account or $25 per commercial account.
- Can I opt out at any time?
You may opt out of EBCE electric generation service at any time by calling 1-833-699-EBCE (3223) or by completing the opt-out form at ebce.org/optout. You will need your PG&E account information to begin the opt-out process.
If returning to PG&E generation service after receiving EBCE service for more than 60 days, PG&E requires that you choose one of the following options:
Option 1: Return to PG&E generation service at the end of the current billing cycle. You will be billed at PG&E’s transitional rates for a six-month period, and PG&E’s standard bundled electricity rates thereafter.
Option 2: Give six month’s advance notice of your intent to return to PG&E generation service. At the end of the six-month notice period, you will be returned to PG&E service and billed PG&E’s standard bundled electricity rates.
Rates & Billing
- What are these East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) charges on my PG&E bill? Am I paying more now with EBCE?
Your PG&E bill now includes charges from East Bay Community Energy, your new electricity provider, and a new Generation Credit from PG&E. You had been previously paying PG&E for electricity generation, as well as for transmission and distribution. Now, your bill shows that you’re receiving electricity from EBCE and transmission and distribution from PG&E.
Please see this web page for more information on how to understand your bill.Customers on EBCE’s Bright Choice service will see a small reduction on their total energy bill and receive energy that’s cleaner than PG&E’s power mix. Brilliant 100 customer bills are the same as they would have been with PG&E as their electricity provider and now receive 100 percent carbon-free energy. Renewable 100 customers pay a little bit more for 100 percent renewable energy.
- How come there is no Generation Credit on my PG&E bill?
Most EBCE customers see a Generation Credit on their PG&E bill each month (usually on page 3), showing what they would have paid PG&E for generation service. The Generation Credit appears because PG&E first charges customers the fully-bundled retail cost per kilowatt-hour, which includes transmission, distribution, generation, fees, taxes, etc. Then for EBCE customers they remove the cost of generation service from that total, and issue that amount as a Generation Credit. EBCE provides the generation service, and our charges replace that Generation Credit.
In two cases customers do not see a Generation Credit: solar net energy metered accounts, and customers who use minimal amounts of electricity. These customers pay PG&E’s Minimum Delivery Charge instead of paying per kWh for PG&E electric delivery service. These accounts are not charged by the kilowatt-hour for electric delivery service, they are charged a daily fee instead.These customers do not pay a fully-bundled retail cost per kilowatt-hour, and are never charged by PG&E for generation service, so there is no need for PG&E to issue a kWh-based Generation Credit.
If these customers are interested in comparing their EBCE charges to what they would have paid PG&E for generation service, they can calculate a “proxy” Generation Credit by multiplying their monthly kWh consumption times the generation rate(s) in their PG&E rate schedule (available here https://www.pge.com/tariffs/index.page). It is important to note that customers who do not receive a Generation Credit on their bill are still saving 1% compared to PG&E rates if they are on EBCE’s Bright Choice service, and they pay the same monthly amount if they are on PG&E service or EBCE’s Brilliant 100.
- How can EBCE offer lower rates?
What makes EBCE so powerful is that it supports clean energy market competition in three ways:
1. EBCE buys power through a competitive process that encourages private energy companies to compete to provide more clean, renewable power at lower costs.
2. EBCE is a local government agency with low overhead costs.
3. Because there are no shareholder investors expecting dividends, EBCE can reinvest net revenue into the community and keep rates low.
- How will EBCE set its rates?
EBCE electricity rates will be set through a transparent public process and approved by the EBCE Board of Directors, elected officials from all participating jurisdictions. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in publicly noticed hearings for each step of the process.
- Will rates be stable?
EBCE will set its generation rates once per year, similar to PG&E. That stability makes it easier to determine household or business electricity expenses.
- Which service will I be enrolled in?
Most accounts within EBCE’s coverage area were automatically enrolled in the Bright Choice service, which is powered by at least 38% renewable energy and an additional minimum of 47% carbon-free energy (together, a total of 85% carbon-free) and offered at a discount to the corresponding PG&E rate. Per the request of the local city council in an effort to support sustainability goals, residential and commercial customers within the cities of Albany and Hayward were enrolled in Brilliant 100 automatically at the start of service. Brilliant 100 service offers 100% carbon-free power at the same rate as PG&E. Residential customers within the city of Piedmont were enrolled in Renewable 100. Renewable 100 service offers 100% renewable and 100% carbon-free power at $0.01/kWh more than the Brilliant 100 rate. Additional information on enrollment and service options is available at https://ebce.org/service-terms-of-conditions/.
- Will my taxes be used to fund this program?
No. By law, EBCE can only be funded through revenues—revenue is used to reduce or stabilize rates, incentives, local renewable projects, and customized programs such as energy efficiency services and rebates. EBCE’s budget is completely separate from the general funds of participating local governments and is approved by the board before the start of the fiscal year on July 1 each year.
- Will I still receive my CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline discounts with EBCE?
If you receive a low-income discount on your electricity bill through the CARE, FERA or Medical Baseline Allowance programs, that discount will continue to apply as an EBCE customer. Renewals and new enrollment applications are still handled by PG&E – visit pge.com/financialassistance for more information.
- Do I get billed separately by EBCE?
No, you will continue to receive one monthly bill from PG&E that includes EBCE charges. The general look, appearance, and setup of your bill will not change, although EBCE electricity supply charges will replace PG&E electricity supply charges. A full description of how to read your bill is available here.
- What is the PCIA?
That’s the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment or PCIA, sometimes called an “exit fee.” The PCIA is intended to ensure that customers who switch to EBCE pay for energy that was contracted by PG&E to serve them prior to their switch. It will appear on your bill as a separate line item in the PG&E Electric Delivery Charges section of the bill. What’s most important to know is that EBCE’s rates—even with the PCIA charge included—will still be competitive with PG&E’s rates.
- Can PG&E raise delivery fees on EBCE customers above those of non-EBCE customers?
No. PG&E must provide the same transmission and distribution rates for all customers in their service area whether or not they receive electricity from PG&E or a Community Choice Energy program such as EBCE.
- Do PG&E employees retain their employee discount while served by EBCE?
Yes, the PG&E employee discount is exactly the same dollar value whether you are on EBCE generation service or PG&E bundled service.
- Does PG&E's conservation incentive (aka tiered rates) apply to EBCE customers?
Yes. The conservation incentive is applied by PG&E (not by EBCE) but impacts your bill the same way whether you are on EBCE service or not. For a detailed example, see page two of this document (PDF) under the section entitled “Unbundling of Total Rates.” In that section, there is a Generation charge of $0.11778 per kWh. That is PG&E’s rate, which will be replaced by EBCE. Below that you see “Conservation Incentive Adjustment.” That is the baseline treatment. Whether you are a PG&E customer for generation service or on EBCE, that treatment remains the same. So no matter what tier of usage you have in a given month, EBCE’s rates will reflect the value proposition proposed depending on which service you are on (Bright Choice, Brilliant 100, or Renewable 100).
- Does EBCE offer the same rate schedules (E1, Time of Use, EV-A, etc.) as PG&E?
Yes. EBCE’s rates mirror those of PG&E, so your rate plan remains the same, the Time of Use (TOU) hours are the same, and the rate tiers are the same; but the cost of your electricity generation is relative to PG&E’s generation cost based on the service option you are in (Bright Choice, Brilliant 100, Renewable 100). See information on rate costs here.
- Do EBCE customers receive the California Climate Credit?
Yes. Twice a year, in Spring and Fall, you will see the California Climate Credit appear on your PG&E bill. This credit is your share of money from California’s Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program. You will see this credit whether you are a customer of EBCE or PG&E.
- Does EBCE offer the same Budget Billing (Balance Payment Plan) option that PG&E does?
Unfortunately, EBCE does not offer this. Customers on EBCE service can have budget billing for their PG&E charges, but not for their EBCE charges. You will still receive one bill, but with some month to month fluctuation that corresponds to the generation charge.
- Does EBCE support SmartRate?
No. SmartRate is a program offered only to PG&E generation customers. However, EBCE customers can sign up for a similar service through companies that offer demand response programs. The California Public Utilities Commission maintains a list of these companies.
- I opted into a Time-of-Use schedule with peak hours everyday from 4 pm to 9 pm. Does EBCE support this rate schedule?
EBCE will support this Time-of-Use rate schedule. However, EBCE is not offering the bill protection feature for the first year a customer is on this rate schedule.
Commercial, Agricultural & Industrial Customers
- Will EBCE have a separate rate structure for agricultural customers?
EBCE will use the same rate schedules as PG&E, including those rates specific to agricultural customers such as AG-1, AG-4, and AG-5. The current rate sheet can be found on the website here.
- What if I have multiple accounts?
Owners of multiple accounts can choose to opt up or opt out your individual accounts. Enrollment is by account, so you’ll be able to see all your accounts and decide what is best for each one.
- What if I have existing direct access arrangements?
Any existing direct access arrangements will not be automatically enrolled in EBCE’s program. Direct Access (DA) service is retail electric service where customers purchase electricity from a competitive provider called an Electric Service Provider (ESP), instead of from a regulated electric utility. However, those customers can choose to become EBCE customers. Special direct access termination provisions may apply.
Solar & NEM Customers
- I have solar panels on my property. Will I continue to receive the benefit of Net Energy Metering (NEM)? Will EBCE offer something better?
EBCE will look at ways to support the value of local solar to the owners of solar photovoltaic systems. At a minimum, EBCE will match the NEM offering provided by PG&E. Additional information on the EBCE NEM policy is available here.
- What happens if I’m a Net Energy Metering 1.0 customer and switch back to PG&E?
According to PG&E, changing service providers has no effect on rate schedules or NEM interconnection. This includes both opt in and opt out. Customers don’t reapply for interconnection when they change service providers, so they’re still under the same (1.0) interconnection agreement regardless of their electricity service provider.
- As a customer with solar, when will I be enrolled with EBCE?
Solar customers will be enrolled throughout 2019 based on their True-Up date with PG&E, as shown below.
NEM Anniversary Date:
January, February, March, and April: Enrollment April 2019
May and June: Enrollment June 2019
July and August: Enrollment August 2019
September and October: Enrollment October 2019
November and December: Enrollment December 2019
- Why am I paying every month, when I used to only pay once a year for my energy usage?
With EBCE service, your generation charges are trued up on a monthly basis. Thus, if you are a net consumer, you will pay for that month’s charges or your credits will be applied to cover the cost. If you are a net producer, you will accumulate credits that can be applied to future bills. These credits are paid out during the April cash out period according to our annual cash out terms. Your PG&E electric delivery charges will continue to be trued up on an annual basis.
- If I change my service level during the middle of the year, how will my April cash out be calculated?
As an existing NEM customer, your surplus generation of kWh is multiplied by the NSC to calculate your cash out payment. The cash out payment is not affected by your service level.
As a “new” NEM customer, your monthly credit is based on the generation rate you are paying during that bill cycle. If you switch service levels, the change will occur on your next bill cycle and you will then incur credits or pay for net usage based on that service level. At the April cash out, you will be paid the dollar amount that is listed as your credit up to $2500.
- Do I still have an annual true up with PG&E?
Yes, you keep your annual true up with PG&E for your electric delivery charges. Please refer to PG&E for more information on their NEM services. EBCE generation charges true up on a monthly basis and the annual cash out period for EBCE is in April.
- What happens with my credits if I close my account prior to the April cash out period?
Accounts that close prior to April are eligible for the EBCE annual cash out process and will be sent a check for any surplus generation that amounts to a credit balance.
- What happens with my credits if I opt out of EBCE prior to the April cash out period?
Accounts that opt out of EBCE service prior to April are eligible for the EBCE annual cash out process and will be sent a check for any surplus generation that amounts to a credit balance. Customers should be advised that PG&E will perform a true‐up of their account at the time of return to PG&E bundled service, and that PG&E’s standard terms for transitional rates apply to customer returns with less than a six‐month advance notice if they have been an EBCE customer for 60 days or more.
- Am I getting paid more for my surplus generation at the annual April cash out than I was with PG&E?
NEM customers with an interconnection date after June 1, 2018 are paid out at retail rate, which is higher than the rate PG&E pays out for surplus generation. PG&E pays out all customers at the net surplus compensation (NSC) rate. The retail rate is equivalent to the rate you are charged for power from EBCE. The NSC rate is based on a 12 month average of the market rate for energy. The retail rate is higher than the NSC rate. So, as a “new” NEM customer, you are getting a higher benefit with EBCE than you would with PG&E.
“New” low-income and municipal customers are paid out at retail rate + $0.01 during the annual cash out period.
Existing NEM customers (interconnected prior to June 1, 2018) are paid out at the NSC rate.
- Why am I paid less for my surplus generation at the annual April cash out because I have had my solar panels since before 6/1/2018?
We have created this policy because EBCE started serving customers in June 2018. We want to encourage customers to install solar panels as EBCE customers.
- What if I am on a time of use (TOU) rate? How will this affect my monthly credit and annual cash out?
Your credit is based on the applicable TOU period-specific rates/charges. You will be credited based on the rate when you over-generate and you will be charged based on the rate when you consume electricity.
For the annual cash out, existing NEM customers will have their surplus kWh (generation) multiplied by the NSC rate. “New” NEM customers will be paid the dollar amount listed as credit, up to $2500.
- If I am an existing NEM customer (interconnected prior to 6/1/2018) on Renewable 100, will my April cash out include the Renewable 100 $0.01 adder?
At the April cash out for existing NEM customers, the surplus generation of kWh is multiplied by the net surplus compensation rate regardless of service level.
During regular months, the surplus generation is saved as a credit at the retail rate (the rate you are charged for power by EBCE), including the extra $0.01 for Renewable 100.
- As a “new” NEM customer (interconnected after 6/1/2018) on Renewable 100, will the extra $0.01 per kWh be added to my cash out value in April?
The extra $0.01 is included in each month that you over-generate and are on the Renewable 100 rate. At the end of the year in April, you will receive whatever dollar amount you have as credit up to $2500.
- As a low-income/municipal NEM customer who installed solar after 6/1/2018, will the extra $0.01 per kWh be added to my cash out value in April?
The extra $0.01 is already included each month that you have surplus generation that you over-generate and are a low-income/municipal customer. At the end of the year in April, you will receive whatever dollar amount you have as credit.
- If I am a “new” low-income/municipal NEM customer and I am on Renewable 100 will I receive both the $0.01 from the Renewable 100 surplus + the $0.01 from the low-income policy?
Yes, a low-income/municipal and Renewable 100 customer will get the monthly credit at the higher value plus an extra penny per kWh. Anything that you owe will also be at the higher Renewable 100 rate.
At the April cash out period, you will receive the dollar amount you have as credit, which will include the extra $0.01 from both the Renewable 100 surplus and the low-income policy.
- Do existing NEM accounts that are also low-income/municipal default to existing NEM or low-income/municipal NEM?
All existing NEM accounts are under the existing NEM policy. The special low-income/municipal designation is only for those that started NEM service after 6/1/2018.
- What is East Bay Community Energy (EBCE)?
East bay Community Energy (EBCE) is a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. State law allows cities and counties to pool the electricity demand of their residents and businesses for the purpose of buying electricity on behalf of those customers as part of a CCE program.
EBCE, a joint powers authority formed in 2016, is a locally controlled, not for profit public agency covering most of Alameda County. It provides residents and businesses in those communities with an option to have more of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar and wind—at competitive rates.
When customers are enrolled with EBCE, they help empower local control of electricity procurement decisions, reduce the carbon footprint associated with their electricity service, and help support growth of local renewables. Rather than paying profits to shareholders, EBCE’s net revenue (after buying power and administrative expenses), can be used to help stabilize electricity prices, provide incentives for more solar installations, support energy efficiency programs, develop more local renewable energy sources in and near Alameda County, and invest in innovative clean technologies and energy-related job training—all while keeping electricity rates competitive with PG&E.
- How is the program run?
The County and participating cities will govern EBCE. The Board of Directors is composed of elected officials representing each of the participating communities. The Board sets rates and determines the mix of power sources. There is a small staff to run day-to-day operations and provide customer support. The entire process is completely transparent, with all Board meetings open to the public.
- What is Community Choice Energy (CCE)?
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 was enacted into law to establish Community Choice Aggregation opportunities in California, now referred to as Community Choice Energy (CCE). It allows a city or county (or groups of cities or counties) to become the default electric supplier in its jurisdiction(s). By doing so, it offers an opportunity for Californians to locally influence the sources of their electricity. Marin Clean Energy (now called MCE Clean Energy) was California’s first CCE program launched in 2010, followed by Sonoma Clean Power, and subsequently Lancaster Choice Energy.
- Has this worked out well elsewhere?
Yes. The Sonoma Clean Power and MCE Clean Energy partnerships with PG&E have worked very well. PG&E provides essential customer service and maintains the transmission system in communities served by both programs. Many additional communities around California have recently launched or are planning to launch their own CCE programs.
- Is there a downside to Community Choice? There must be some risk.
As with any business enterprise, there are risks. The primary risks are customer opt-outs, energy price fluctuations, and changing state regulations. A successful CCE program requires that a significant majority of residential and commercial customers obtain their electricity from the program. This is one reason why CCE programs strive to maintain competitive pricing, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and providing higher renewable content than what you can get from the incumbent utility.
California’s energy markets have been stable for several years and prices for electricity from both renewable and conventional energy sources (natural gas) are relatively low. Markets could become more volatile. EBCE will hedge risks by developing a diverse portfolio that includes a mix of long-term and short-term contracts and direct investments in power projects.
The regulatory risk is difficult to predict. A 2002 State law allows cities and counties to develop programs like this—the State is supportive. Many CCE programs have been very active in the California Public Utilities Commission’s regulatory proceedings and have established a strong network. As more local programs are developed, we will have an even stronger presence—it will be essential to actively participate in ongoing regulatory proceedings
- How will the program be regulated?
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the entity that regulates all California energy providers, approved the EBCE Implementation Plan in October 2017. The Plan discusses rate design, plan to buy electricity, and how we will carry out all the functions the CPUC requires. EBCE must comply with various reporting requirements issued by the CPUC and the California Energy Commission.
- What does the Community Advisory Committee do and who is on it?
Members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) were selected by the EBCE Board of Directors following an application process. The CAC advises the Board on matters related to the operation of EBCE. A list of CAC members is available here.
- Where did the money to start EBCE come from?
The County of Alameda issued a $3.7 million loan to launch EBCE. EBCE began to repay this debt when the program started delivering electricity and generating revenue. EBCE received bank financing to fund power purchases.
- How much renewable energy will EBCE provide?
EBCE will provide much of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and small hydroelectricity—which do not pollute or produce greenhouse gases. Switching from conventional energy sources to renewable energy is the single most effective way to accomplish our communities’ climate action goals. Check out the website for more information on our power mix.
- How much renewable energy does PG&E offer?
PG&E offers two options to customers—a standard product with 33% renewable energy and a “Solar Choice” product with 100% solar energy.
- Why is PG&E’s Solar Choice the lowest-priced power option in 2020?
PG&E’s Solar Choice is a voluntary program for PG&E bundled service customers, that allows them to get 50% or 100% of their electricity from solar power. On EBCE’s 2020 joint rate mailer, the PG&E Solar Choice sample bill cost is lower than EBCE’s sample bill cost for all rates except large commercial and agriculture. In fact, Solar Choice is less expensive than the PG&E standard service in 2020. However, Solar Choice has historically been priced at a premium to PG&E’s standard generation rate and is only available for a limited number of eligible customers. For more information, visit pge.com/solarchoice; call 1-877-743-8429; or email email@example.com.
- What’s different about how EBCE buys power?
Currently PG&E owns some electricity generation facilities such as natural gas-burning plants, large hydroelectric dams, and one nuclear plant. It also buys electricity on the open market.
EBCE will buy a higher percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources, also on the open market. EBCE will also invest in and build local renewable energy projects, as other more established CCE programs are now doing.
- Isn’t renewable power more expensive than regular electricity?
Not any more. During the past 30 years the costs of fossil fuels have been rising, although natural gas and oil prices have come down recently. During the same time, the cost of renewable sources has dropped dramatically. In fact, in California, renewable energy is often cheaper than fossil fuel because after the initial construction costs, the fuels—wind and sun—are free.
- How does the electricity you buy actually get to my house?
EBCE will buy the same amount of electricity that customers use, and feed it into California’s electric grid. When the electrons hit the grid, no one can determine where each individual electron goes. EBCE will provide cleaner electricity to the grid (with higher renewable content and fewer greenhouse gases), displacing what PG&E had been providing. It’s like when you deposit $100 into one ATM and later take it out of another ATM. It’s not the same $100, but it is your money. The advantage of EBCE is that the electricity we put into the grid will be more carbon-free and renewably sourced than what PG&E is putting into the grid.
- What’s the difference between renewably sourced electricity and carbon-free electricity?
Electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, and small hydroelectric plants is renewable because those sources are never depleted. They do not create greenhouse gases so they are also carbon-free.
Other sources of electricity include nuclear facilities and large hydroelectric dams. They don’t create greenhouse gases so they are considered to be carbon-free. However, the state of California does not recognize those two sources as renewable.
- If EBCE offers 50% renewable energy sources, for example, where’s the rest coming from?
Initially, there may be natural gas or carbon-free hydroelectric components which are purchased on the open market. However, EBCE, like its counterparts in Marin, Sonoma, and San Mateo, will reduce its reliance on carbon-producing sources over time.
- What about buying electricity from a coal-fired plant?
- And power generated by large hydroelectric dams?
There is a mix of small (renewable) in Bright Choice and large (not renewable, but carbon-free) hydroelectric power in Brilliant 100 in order to minimize carbon emissions.
- Why did EBCE’s power mix contain 1% nuclear power in 2019?
EBCE’s 2019 power mix contained 1% nuclear power. This 1% nuclear power comes from asset controlling supplier (ACS) systems that own, operate, or market interconnected electricity generating facilities. For example, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is an asset controlling supplier. While ACS suppliers can provide low GHG-free power, they cannot sell directly from a particular resource, but rather they provide a slice of their overall portfolio. Most of the ACS that EBCE purchased consists of hydropower from the Pacific Northwest. The resource mix is primarily hydropower, but they also have a small amount of nuclear power.
ACS purchases were previously reported as unspecified sources of power, per California disclosure rules. In 2020, the reporting requirements changed and became effective retroactively for 2019, requiring load-serving entities to list the individual components of ACS.
- California law (SB 350) requires that all electricity must be 50% renewable by 2030. Why start EBCE if PG&E will also be delivering 50% renewable electricity?
SB 350 is a great law. Yet we don’t see any reason to wait until 2030 to reach that level of renewable energy content in the power delivered to our community. We can do it now. That level has already been achieved in Marin and San Mateo and will soon be achieved in Sonoma and San Francisco.
EBCE’s baseline energy product has as large a portion of renewable energy sources as possible, and that’s just the beginning. MCE Clean Energy intends to be 85% carbon-free by 2025. There’s no reason our community can’t do that—or more—as well.
- How can I be sure that EBCE is buying 100% renewable energy on my behalf when I enroll in Renewable 100?
EBCE is required to report to the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission on an annual basis to verify the amount of renewable energy procured for our customers. This is the same standard used by all California utilities, including PG&E, for verification purposes.