What is Sonoma Clean Power?
Sonoma Clean Power provides cleaner electricity to local homes, businesses, and city facilities.
SCP is a public agency that was formed in Sonoma County in 2014 to ensure local electricity needs are supplied by more renewable and low carbon energy sources. In 2017, SCP’s service expanded to Mendocino County.
SCP is the local power generation provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, with the exception of the incorporated cities of Healdsburg and Ukiah which have their own city-operated public power utilities.
Why is Sonoma Clean Power on my bill?
SCP is the default power generation provider, which means if you move to, or open a new PG&E account in Sonoma County or Mendocino County, you will automatically receive electric generation service from SCP unless you choose to opt out. SCP and PG&E work together to provide you with electricity.
What does a power generation provider do?
Power generation providers, like Sonoma Clean Power, manage the purchasing, rate setting, and sourcing of electricity for their customers.
SCP contracts with power generation plants to produce the electricity you use in your home or business.
SCP ensures that there is enough energy on the grid to meet your needs, and PG&E maintains the poles and transmission lines that bring the electricity to you.
Is Sonoma Clean Power an extra charge?
No, Sonoma Clean Power’s charges on your bill are NOT an extra charge. SCP’s charges are for electric generation service. If you do not want to receive electric generation from SCP, you can receive it from PG&E instead. When a customer chooses to opt out of SCP, they will continue to pay for electric generation service, but to PG&E instead of SCP.
What is the relationship between Sonoma Clean Power and PG&E?
If you are a Sonoma Clean Power customer, SCP generates the electricity used in your household or business from cleaner and more renewable sources of energy.
PG&E delivers the electricity and maintains the electric infrastructure that connects the electric grid to your home or business (ex. power lines, power poles, substations, etc.). PG&E is still responsible for responding to power outages or infrastructure related issues.
Customers receive one bill from PG&E every month with both SCP and PG&E charges on it, including PG&E’s gas charges if applicable. Bill payment is processed by PG&E.
Why Sonoma Clean Power?
Choice – Prior to SCP, PG&E was the only provider of both electric generation and delivery services. Now customers can choose between two providers for their electricity.
Local control – As a public agency, SCP’s decision-making, budget, procurement, and rate setting is all done through a transparent, public process. SCP customers and the public can voice their questions, concerns, and input on any items discussed by our Board of Directors and Community Advisory Committee at monthly meetings, which are open to the public.
Cleaner energy - SCP’s power mix emits far less greenhouse gas emissions and uses more renewable sources than PG&E. Our default service, CleanStart, is 50% renewable and 91% carbon-free. Our optional premium service, EverGreen, is entirely renewable and locally generated every hour of the day.
Local team – SCP is a team of less than 50 people. More than half of our employees grew up in the communities we serve, and all of us are personally invested in creating a healthy, resilient energy future for Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Exclusive programs – Because our service territory is focused on two counties, SCP can design our customer offerings based on local needs and the specific goals of our unique communities.
Local reinvestment – Unlike private investor-owned utilities, such as PG&E, SCP is a not-for-profit with no shareholders. After recouping operating costs, SCP’s revenues go toward supporting local community efforts and organizations, education, rate stability, building reserves, and customer offerings.
New renewable energy sources - Since 2014, SCP’s power purchase agreements have directly supported the development of more than 195 megawatts of brand-new renewable energy and storage facilities in California, including 6 megawatts of solar projects in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. SCP has also executed contracts for 400 megawatts of additional clean resources and battery storage, which are scheduled to come online in the next few years.
Does it cost more to have Sonoma Clean Power?
Sonoma Clean Power’s rates are always competitive with PG&E’s.
Our CleanStart customers are saving about 5% on their total electric bill compared to customers who receive both generation and delivery services from PG&E. Meaning, customers who have PG&E exclusively are paying about 5% more on their electric bills.
Our EverGreen customers pay an additional 2.5 cent premium per kilowatt hour of usage, which for the average residential customer costs about $13 more per month than CleanStart.
Over the past 10 years, SCP has saved our customers millions of dollars through lower rates and avoided fees.
Why was Sonoma Clean Power formed?
SCP was formed in response to the community’s desire for local control over our electricity supply. Creating a Community Choice Aggregation meant forming a public agency to take over the purchasing, rate setting, and sourcing of electricity for residents, businesses, and municipalities.
The effort to form SCP started in 2012 and required the buy-in of local city, county, and town governments. Today, 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.
All City Councils, Boards of Supervisors, and Town Councils in Mendocino and Sonoma counties voted to join SCP’s service. Each has representation on our Board of Directors.
What is Community Choice Aggregation?
In the early 2000s, California experienced PG&E’s first bankruptcy and an energy crisis that caused rolling blackouts throughout the state. The public demanded that the state develop a solution to fix the broken market and prevent illegal manipulation from happening again.
That solution was Community Choice Aggregation. In 2002, the legislature passed AB 117 enabling cities and counties in California to form Community Choice Aggregators.
Today, in California, Community Choice Aggregators compete with the private investor-owned utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, for electric generation services. However, the three investor-owned utilities maintain a monopoly on delivery and transmission services within their territories and own most of the grid infrastructure throughout California.
Are there other agencies like Sonoma Clean Power?
Yes, there are 24 Community Choice Aggregators across the state bringing clean energy, community-specific programs, and local control to over 11 million Californians.
In addition, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and New York also have community choice programs.
What are my electricity options with Sonoma Clean Power?
Sonoma Clean Power offers two options for electricity— CleanStart, our default mix of 50% renewable energy, or EverGreen, our premium mix of 100% renewable locally generated energy.
SCP customers receive CleanStart by default when they open a new account. Customers can sign up for EverGreen at any time.
What energy sources does Sonoma Clean Power use to generate electricity?
CleanStart, our default option, is 50% renewable with energy sources including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power located throughout California. A large portion of CleanStart also comes from hydropower, a carbon-free resource. CleanStart is 91% carbon-free, which means it has very low greenhouse gas emissions.
EverGreen, our premium option, is the only 24/7 100% renewable and locally generated service offered in California. SCP taps local solar projects during the day and geothermal from the Geysers when the sun goes down. Choosing EverGreen is one of the most impactful climate actions you can take, since it eliminates nearly all the greenhouse gas emissions from your electricity use.
For more on Sonoma Clean Power’s power sources, click here.
What do “renewable” and “carbon-free” mean in terms of energy?
Renewable energy comes from sources that naturally replenish themselves and never run out. In contrast, nonrenewable energy (like fossil fuels) comes from sources that cannot replenish themselves as fast as we are using them and will eventually run out.
Carbon-free energy sources produce no carbon emissions when generating energy.
Not all renewable energy sources are carbon-free, and not all carbon-free sources are renewable.
How do I know the electricity I’m paying for is cleaner?
Once power is converted into electricity and added to the shared electric grid, it’s impossible to tell the difference between an electron that came from a clean energy source or from a polluting energy source.
That’s why it’s important to track which energy sources are being used to generate our electricity. How the electricity is generated is where you’ll find the impacts.
For example, when Sonoma Clean Power contracts for electricity from the Geysers, they turn on a geothermal unit to operate on our behalf. If, instead, we contracted for electricity from a natural gas plant in the Central Valley, then that facility would increase its output – and its emissions – to account for our needs.
SCP contracts with more renewable and lower-carbon sources to supply our local demand. We also incentivize the development of new renewable energy facilities in Mendocino and Sonoma counties to improve our energy independence and lower long-term costs for customers.
With SCP, you are supporting cleaner energy.
Can I still receive PG&E administered discounts as a Sonoma Clean Power customer?
Yes, if you currently receive CARE, FERA, Medical Baseline, or PG&E Employee discounts from PG&E, you will continue to receive your full discount as an SCP customer. You do not need to re-apply.
Can I still participate in PG&E’s programs as a Sonoma Clean Power customer?
Yes, almost all PG&E’s programs are available to SCP customers, including energy efficiency rebates, net energy metering, and SmartAC. SCP customers can participate in both SCP and PG&E offerings, but PG&E customers can only participate in PG&E’s.
To learn more about SCP’s exclusive customer offerings and incentives, click here.
Can I opt out of Sonoma Clean Power?
Yes, you can opt out of receiving electric generation service from Sonoma Clean Power at any time. If you opt out, PG&E will begin providing and charging you for their electric generation instead.
All customers will be subject to PG&E’s terms and conditions of service, which will prohibit you from returning to SCP for a full year after your opt out date.
Please note, you’ll be unable to participate in any of SCP’s customer offers and miss out on SCP’s local benefits and greenhouse gas savings!
To opt out, please have a copy of your electric bill handy and call 1 (855) 202-2139 Monday through Friday between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST.
Is there a fee for opting out of Sonoma Clean Power?
There is no fee to opt out of SCP before service begins, or within the first 60 days of service. If you opt out 60 days or more after SCP service begins, you will be charged a one-time nominal fee of $5 per residential account or $25 per commercial account.
Can I re-enroll in Sonoma Clean Power if I previously opted out?
Yes! If you decide to opt out before service begins, or within the first 60 days of service, you can return to Sonoma Clean Power at any time.
Customers who opt out 60 days or more after SCP service starts are subject to PG&E’s terms and conditions, which prevents customers from returning to SCP for at least one year.