Sometimes it pays to be green. Starting this May, twenty-thousand Sonoma County residents will switch from the region’s dominant utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., to the new Sonoma Clean Power, a public clean energy utility that supplies renewable electricity to residents at a discount.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, not only are residents gaining control of their sources of power — including the ability to choose more solar and wind power — they’ll also have the option of supporting the sustainable effort. If customers choose the basic service, CleanStart, they’ll save 2.3 percent on electricity bills compared with PG&E.¬† Geof Syphers, the new chief executive officer of Sonoma Clean Power said that due to its mix of sources, the¬†power is 30 percent lower in greenhouse gas emissions than PG&E’s. But if customers choose a second service option called EverGreen, they’ll get 100 percent renewable power that’s drawn from a geothermal field. This service–designed for those who don’t mind paying for clean energy at a premium–will raise a customer’s bill by roughly 20 percent and make them a part of the county’s clean energy cause.
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Chief Syphers assured his soon-to-be customers that going public won’t disrupt service: “There will be no interruption in service or change in reliability. The only difference will be that participating customers will save money and receive cleaner electricity.” That sounds like a win for Sonoma residents and the environment.