East Bay Community Energy Launches!

After years of planning and preparation, and countless hours of hard work by hundreds of stakeholders, East Bay Community Energy has officially launched!

We began serving commercial, industrial, and public accounts on June 1. Those 55,000 customers consume about 63 percent of the total energy we will serve when fully operational.

Residential customers, about 37 percent of our load, started getting service on November 1. We are initially serving about 500,000 customers, or about 1.5 million residents of Alameda County.

While launching our service of clean, green energy has been our number one priority, we have a host of other activities underway and coming soon.  Our Local Development Business Plan spells out an aggressive set of options for local energy projects, including energy efficiency, demand response, distributed renewables, and vehicle electrification.

Stay tuned as we roll out these and other programs and policies. To track our progress sign up for our mailing list here, follow us on LinkedIn, and follow our CEO Nick Chaset on Twitter.

Faces of EBCE — Nick Chaset

Nick Chaset has energy in his blood.

The EBCE CEO is the son of two lawyers with decades of experience in energy and telecom. His father, Larry Chaset, spent time at the Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and helped pursue refunds after the 2000-01 Western power crisis while on the staff of the California Public Utilities Commission. His mother, Gretchen Dumas, spent 35 at the CPUC as a telecom and energy attorney.

But it goes back further — Larry’s father and grandfather ran a home heating business in Providence, Rhode Island, delivering oil and coal door-to-door.

That makes Nick a fourth generation energy professional.

While his passion for energy may be genetic, it is also a response to the threat of global warming.

“Every facet of our lives relies on electricity but we often don’t think about it,” he says. “It’s so ubiquitous and important, yet we have a moral and personal imperative to transition to carbon-free energy.”

Nick has spent 13 years in the energy business so far, including his own stint at the CPUC, as Chief of Staff to CPUC President Michael Picker. After undergrad at Tufts University and an MBA from Georgetown University, he worked for clean energy companies and consultants, before landing on the staff of Governor Jerry Brown.

It was there that he made his biggest mark so far in energy, he says, by shepherding the evolution of net energy metering (NEM) from version 1.0 to version 2.0. NEM is a foundational policy that sets out the rules for customer-owned generation, primarily from solar panels. As solar power took off in California, it was bumping up against caps on deployment, while raising questions about how solar should be valued to maximize benefits to the grid.

“I worked with the legislature and the CPUC to lift the cap and move to a system that would allow for the continued growth of rooftop solar,” Chaset recalls. “There was a concern that without reforming the rules solar would not scale up, and it would be limited it to very high income customers.”

The NEM 2.0 decision lifted the cap, but also required customers with solar to switch to a time-of-use rate, better aligning solar with the value of energy on the grid. He points to the continued robust growth of solar as evidence that the new policy is working.

“I see a lot of parallels between that and what is happening now with CCAs,” he says. “We’ve reached a critical mass with CCAs and now we have to come up with a system that allows for continued growth. I’m putting a lot of my attention to policies that allow for that growth.”

While California is on a path toward a cleaner energy system, Chaset thinks that CCAs can help in going greener quicker, while delivering more local benefits.

“My goal for EBCE is to deliver lower carbon, lower cost energy solutions that benefit all residents of Alameda County — especially those that have borne the brunt of our past environmental mistakes.”

“And as a community energy supplier, we want to create local jobs and local economic benefits,” he adds. “The East Bay is home to many energy innovators, including Berkeley Lab and Tesla. We want EBCE to foster an ecosystem for innovation, to become the epicenter of clean energy innovation.”

In the News

New energy provider begins this month in Alameda County, East Bay Times, November 13

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.

San Diego Moves Ahead With 100% Clean Energy Community Choice Program, Greentech Media, October 25

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that the city will move ahead with plans to create a CCA.  “This is not a partisan issue,” he said. “It’s a ‘right thing to do’ issue.” The city has a goal of 100% clean energy by 2035. If approved by the City Council, San Diego will be the 20th CCA in California and will serve 1.4 million customers.

10 Southern California municipalities commit to 100% renewables through CCA program, Solar Power World, November 5.

Nine SoCal cities plus Ventura County have opted for default 100% renewable supply for all residential, business, and public accounts through the Clean Power Alliance CCA. CARE and other low-income customers will get 100% renewables at no additional cost. The group has a combined population of approximately 750,000.

3 Bay Area cities ranked among greenest in U.S. — and one aims to keep improving, San Jose Mercury News, October 11.

Fremont was ranked the seventh greenest city in America by WalletHub. They tied for first on clean energy, thanks to their membership in EBCE, their local code requiring solar panels on all new residential construction, and their Fremont Green Challenge program to help households cut carbon.

The Growth in Community Choice Aggregation: Impacts to California’s Grid, Next10, August 2

The UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation released a report on the recent growth of CCAs in California. They found that CCAs got between 37 and 100 percent of their power from renewables last year, with a statewide average of 52 percent, higher than the IOUs at 32 to 44 percent.  CCAs also had lower rates, ranging from 0.1 to 2.1 percent lower.