This past May, Humboldt County became the eighth local jurisdiction in California to provide Community Choice Energy to its residents and businesses. Humboldt joined Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and several other counties and cities now offering an alternative way to buy electricity.
For years, investor-owned utilities like PG&E have been the only choice for most Californians when it comes to electricity supply. A state law adopted in 2003 allows local governments to procure electricity on behalf of local customers, with power delivery still handled by the local utility. This has allowed customers access to lower rates and more renewable power, with lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Humboldt County’s program comes courtesy of Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a trusted provider of energy efficiency services for over a decade. We’re pleased that the community has welcomed the program, with nearly 95% of electric customers choosing to take advantage of our cost savings and locally controlled service. Community Choice Energy is now available throughout the county, with the exception of Ferndale, which will join the program early in 2018.
In addition to our base program, which now provides over 40% renewable power to the county, we offer a 100% renewable REpower+ option. An average household pays just five to six dollars extra per month for this service. Two local municipalities, the Cities of Blue Lake and Arcata, have chosen to switch all their public facilities over to REpower+ and are now powering their operations on 100% renewable electricity.
Community Choice Energy is made possible by ratepayer dollars. At the same time we’re helping utility customers cut their electric bills, we’re also setting aside a portion of revenues that will be used to build new renewable energy projects, creating clean industry jobs for the people of Humboldt County.
Speaking of the people of Humboldt, all of you helped develop and set direction for this new program through the workshops and surveys you participated in during planning and startup. We continue to welcome the public to our monthly Board meetings – come let us know what you think. See our website for meeting schedules and agendas.
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) and the City of Blue Lake are excited to announce that the City of Blue Lake has completed the process of enrolling in RePower+, Humboldt County’s Community Choice 100% Renewable Energy program.
The City of Blue Lake, including all the city buildings, public services, Parks and Recreation, and other city-operated facilities, has joined hundreds of other Humboldt businesses and residents who have “opted up” to help achieve energy independence and energy security in Humboldt County. The City of Arcata has also made the decision to opt up. The cost to Blue Lake will add only $.01/kWh to the city’s regular monthly bill.
“The cost really isn’t that much, but it’s a statement about the direction the city wants to move towards.” said Bobbi Ricca, Blue Lake City council mayor pro-tem. Bobbi also represents Blue Lake on the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s Board of Directors.
Mayor Adeline Jones added that Blue Lake’s citizens are excited about using as much renewable energy as possible, installing solar panels and taking advantage of the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing programs that the City has made available to property owners in the city. “I’m always proud of our residents. We’re a small town that tackles big problems.”
As of August 2017, 100 percent of the electricity used by Arcata’s municipal government is generated from renewable sources. The City of Arcata opted up to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s REpower+ service last month. Now all City facilities and operations requiring electricity are running on renewable energy.
Opting up to REpower+ helps meet goals set by the Arcata City Council over a decade ago to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. REpower+ customers use more locally-sourced energy that supports local job development and renewable power infrastructure development, thus diversifying the region’s economy and building energy resiliency.
In May, all Humboldt County businesses, with the exception of Ferndale businesses, were automatically transitioned to RCEA’s Community Choice Energy program. Through the program’s basic REpower option a portion of the electricity purchased comes from renewable sources at lower rates than PG&E’s conventional power program. For 1 cent per kilowatt hour more, businesses focused on reducing carbon emissions could opt up to REpower+ service where all of the power purchased is generated from renewable, secure sources, such as wind, solar, and local biomass.
“Whether you are a resident or small business, you have the power to make a make a difference in addressing climate change by opting up to 100% renewable energy sources now,” says Mark Andre, Arcata Environmental Services Director. “By opting up to 100 percent renewable energy sources, all of your electricity needs will be powered by clean energy sources. No gas. No oil. No coal. No nuclear. No fossil fuels.”