Frequently Asked Questions | Sonoma Clean Power
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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q

Does SCP replace PG&E?

A

No. Customers can choose between SCP and PG&E for electric generation service, but either way, the customer will pay PG&E for electric delivery and maintaining the grid. SCP pays PG&E to provide customers with one consolidated bill.

Q

Can I Opt Out of Sonoma Clean Power?

A

Yes. If you don’t want to participate in SCP’s service, you can opt out of the program and receive electric generation services from PG&E. To opt out, please have a copy of your PG&E bill handy.

You may opt out online or by calling our local contact center at
1 (855) 202-2139 Monday through Friday between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST

Customers who opt out of SCP’s electric generation services before the first 60 days of service with SCP, can return to SCP at any time.

Q

What is PG&E's view of Sonoma Clean Power

A

PG&E supports your right to choose. Check out what PG&E has to say about Community Choice programs like SCP.

Q

Who can participate in Sonoma Clean Power’s service and programs?

A

Electric customers living in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties are eligible to participate with the exception of people living in the cities of Ukiah and Healdsburg which have their own municipal power programs.

If you live outside Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, visit CalCCA to see if there is a Community Choice program in your area.

Q

Who is Sonoma Clean Power?

A

SCP is a customer-owned public agency operated in the Cities of Cloverdale, Cotati, Fort Bragg, Petaluma, Point Arena, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Willits and the Town of Windsor, and the Counties of Sonoma and Mendocino.

SCP is run by its Chief Executive Officer, Geof Syphers, and a small staff. It is governed by the Board of Directors of the Sonoma Clean Power Authority, a joint powers authority of the member counties and cities that have voted to join. The Board is advised by a public Community Advisory Committee.

SCP provides electricity for our customers in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties from cleaner sources with lower greenhouse emissions at about the same price as PG&E.

PG&E continues to maintain the grid, repair power lines, and provide our shared customers’ one consolidated utility bill with SCP electric generation charges and PG&E electric delivery charges. SCP is not involved in gas procurement or delivery.

Billing

Q

Won't this create another expensive government agency?

A

Nope. SCP is entirely self-funded by revenues we receive for selling electricity to our customers. SCP does not have shareholders and puts any excess revenues in keeping rates stable, local programs, and reserves. Visit our website to see our budget.

Q

Why am I being billed by Sonoma Clean Power?

A

When you purchase electricity, you pay for two major components. The delivery (known as transmission & distribution) and the creation (also known as the generation).

SCP charges you for the generation of your electricity and Pacific Gas & Electric charges for the delivery along with other fees and charges just like they always have.

Q

Is Sonoma Clean Power an extra charge?

A

No. Customers should consult the first page of their PG&E bill under Important Messages for the following message. “Your charges on this page are separated into delivery charges from PG&E and generation or procurement charges from an energy provider (SCP) other than PG&E. These two charges are for different services and are not duplicate charges.”

Rates

Q

How do SCP’s rates and power mix compare with PG&E’s rates and power mix?

A

SCP and PG&E partner to provide customers a comparison of rates and power mixes. PG&E’s website hosts and regularly updates a joint rate comparison document of our services for the most common rates. If you don’t see your rate, call us at 1 (855) 202-2139 to learn more.

Moving/Enrolling/Opting Out

Q

What is the enrollment process?

A

If you live or move into SCP’s service territory your default service for electric generation is SCP. PG&E continues to maintain the grid, repair lines, and do all customer billing. You do not need to take any action to enroll in SCP, since the vote to change the default service provider by your city and county already shifted your sources of power to SCP’s cleaner mix of wind, hydropower, geothermal, solar, biomass, and much less natural gas.

Q

Can I return to PG&E after the first 60 days of service with SCP?

A

Yes. You can request to opt out of SCP at any time. However, customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with SCP will be prohibited by PG&E from returning to SCP for one year.

PG&E provides two options for customers who wish to return to PG&E after the first 60 days of SCP service:

1. A customer may request to return to PG&E by providing 6 months advance notice. The customer will continue to receive electric generation service from SCP for 6 months after which time they will return to PG&E’s standard bundled service.

2. A customer may request to return to PG&E on their next meter read, but will be subject to PG&E’s Transitional Bundled Commodity Cost (TBCC) rate for 6 months instead of PG&E’s traditional bundled rates. PG&E’s TBCC rate is transitional and varies from month to month.

If you have questions about TBCC, you should contact PG&E for more information at 1 (866) 743-0335.

Q

Is there a fee for opting out of SCP?

A

There is no charge for opting out of SCP within the first 60 days of starting SCP service.

If you’ve taken service from SCP for more than 60 days, there will be a one-time $5 (residential) or $25 (commercial) fee.

Q

Can I re-enroll in SCP if I previously opted out?

A

Yes. If you opted out of SCP within the first 60 days of service, you can return to SCP at any time. Call us our local contact center at 1 (855) 202-2139 Monday through Friday between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST or visit our website to re-enroll.

However, if you have opted out after the first 60 days of service, PG&E requires you stay with their bundled service for one year. Once that year is up, you may re-enroll in SCP for electric generation services online or by calling our local contact center at 1 (855) 202-2139.

Q

Why was I automatically enrolled in Sonoma Clean Power’s service?

A

Historically, PG&E has been the default electricity provider to customers in Northern California for over 100 years and customers were automatically served by PG&E because there was no other option available.

After the energy crisis of 2000, Californians lobbied the State legislators to provide a public option that offered better transparency and an alternative to the Investor Owned Utilities (e.g. PG&E). In 2002, California State legislators passed the Community Choice Aggregation law that allows a community to come together and buy electricity on behalf its residents and businesses. The law also made Community Choice programs, like SCP, the default provider of electric service.

All the city councils, boards of supervisors, and town councils in Mendocino and Sonoma counties voted to join SCP service and have representation on our Board of Directors.

Renewables

Q

Are Sonoma Clean Power’s default CleanStart service and premium EverGreen service really greener than PG&E?

A

Yes. By contracting with cleaner generating sources SCP is able to offer electricity that has fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to PG&E’s mix.

SCP’s CleanStart service is 49% renewable and 91% carbon-free, from sources considered renewable under California’s regulations, like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, and 42% from large hydropower facilities. The remaining power comes from “system power,” which is largely natural gas, but may include some renewables.

EverGreen is 100% renewable power from geothermal and solar generated in SCP’s service territory. The premium for EverGreen is 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour or about $13 more per month for the average residential customer. For those who want to help pioneer a clean energy economy, you can switch to EverGreen at any time! Learn more.

Q

What are the sources of SCP's electricity?

A

Sonoma Clean Power is committed to increasing renewable energy, supporting the local economy, and providing competitively priced service. That’s quite a few goals, and no one power source can deliver all of them, which is why we use a combination of sources. You can view a breakdown of our current mix on our Power Sources page.

Q

What are the benefits of Sonoma Clean Power?

A

Local programs. SCP develops and funds local energy programs to benefit our unique customer needs. For a growing list of programs visit our website at sonomacleanpower.org/customer-programs. In addition, SCP customers are still eligible for almost all of PG&E’s programs so SCP can focus on programs that can be targeted for our service territory. Got a great program idea, email us at programs@sonomacleanpower.org.

More renewables. SCP’s mix of renewable energy sources for our default CleanStart service has half the greenhouse gas emissions compared to PG&E. SCP’s optional premium EverGreenservice is 100% local AND renewable This 24/7 service is the first of its kind in California!

Local reinvestment. In the past, over $200 million left Sonoma and Mendocino Counties each year to pay for electric generation. SCP helps redirect some of that money back into our local economy by contracting for local consultants and services. Since 2014, SCP has helped customers save tens of millions of dollars on their bills, has paid solar customers over $3 million for producing excess local renewable energy, donated over $2.1 million to non-profits, and offering incentives to customers fuel switch to clean electricity.

Local control. Prior to SCP, electric generation rates were set without any input from local customers. SCP’s Board of Directors’ are in charge of setting rates, which is done through a public process that gives customers local control and accountability.

New markets for renewable energy. SCP provides clean energy solutions that make a difference in the lives of our customers. Tapping a combination of sources—hydropower, geothermal, solar, biomass, and wind—SCP delivers clean power to communities throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The majority of SCP’s renewable energy is purchased from power facilities in California.

Q

Since we share a grid, how do I know my electrons are cleaner?

A

It turns out all electricity is clean. It’s the generating sources that can pollute.

Whether electricity was made from natural gas or solar, by the time the electricity is in your wires, it is all exactly the same. There is no need (or way) to track which electricity you use. Instead, we track which generators put electricity on to the grid for you, because that is where the impacts are.

When we contract for electricity from the Geysers, for example, they turn on a geothermal unit and it operates on our behalf. If, instead, we contracted for electricity from a fossil fuel plant in the Central Valley, then that plant would increase its output – and its emissions – to account for our needs.

With SCP, we get to choose how our electricity is created, and some sources, like the Geysers, are much cleaner than others.

Background

Q

Why was Sonoma Clean Power formed?

A

Sonoma Clean Power was formed in response to our community’s desire for local control of our electric energy supply. Local residents and businesses wanted competitive rates, from cleaner sources, and new customer programs.

Q

Have other communities done this before?

A

Yes, there are quite a few operational CCAs in California and many more investigating Community Choice Aggregation. In addition, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and New York also have community choice programs. For a full list of California CCAs please visit CalCCA.

Q

How does my bill change if I’m a customer of SCP?

A

SCP pays PG&E to be our billing vendor, so customers will still only receive one consolidated bill from PG&E with their PG&E electric delivery charges and SCP’s electric generation charges. If you want to know about reading your bill, please watch our video.