A quick opinion: Watch for a new electric company coming your way

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I’m not a big fan of PG&E, but I’m not sure I’m ready to try a new power company to supply my electricity. If you read the Express a couple of weeks ago, you saw that our city council is thinking about switching us to a company call Valley Clean Energy (VCE) that would be in charge of supplying some of our electricity. Their fee for service would appear on our PG&E bill, along with our regular PG&E charges.

When the council asked if our power bill would go down, they implied that it would, but there were ifs involved, but that isn’t the problem I have with the move to another power company. We don’t get to pick between VCE or PG&E, our city council would make the choice for us. If we don’t like their decision we would have to ask VCE to move us back to PG&E, or maybe have to ask PG&E to take us back. I’m not sure how that would work, but I would rather decide for myself whether to sign up or not.

It sounds like a telemarketer making a sales pitch. It might be a good deal, but you need to see the fine print before you make up your mind. If this is such a good deal, let people sign up, not have to “Opt Out” if you don’t like it. Opt out is where you are automatically signed up and you have to put it in writing to get out. Opt in is where you would have to sign up have Valley Clean Energy supply your power. This policy is implemented because of a California law to help alternative power companies.

The company knows that most people won’t take the time to opt out, but will continue to pay their monthly fee, forever. They also know how hard it would be to get people to sign up for a different power company without a guarantee that their rates would be lower. People may want to use renewable energy, but not many are willing to pay extra for the privilege.

If the city council wants to move to VCE for city electric needs, more power to them, but I’m not seeing a reward for changing companies, while I can see a risk in switching.

I should mention that this switch will only affect my office and not my home. I had solar power on my old offices on Railroad, but moved the solar panels to my home when they bulldozed my building 4 years ago. Since that time, I don’t pay for electricity at my home. My office is another issue. I was shocked, am still shocked, when my PG&E bill shows up at 13 Russell Street. I’ve tried to change out light bulbs, adjust the air conditioners, etc., but nothing seems to help. I don’t think VCE would solve my problem with high energy bills, but I’ll look into it.

I’ll admit that I don’t know that much about VCE, but they buy power in bulk, trying for renewable and low greenhouse gas power. They then use PG&E’s power lines to deliver the power. PG&E bills, services and maintains the power lines, just like they do now. VCE is working in Davis, Woodland and parts Yolo County. According to their web site they have been offering their service since June 2018. PG&E started in 1905.

You may want to change power companies, and if our city council decides to go with VCE, you will get your wish. I’d like to wait and see how they are doing in Davis and Woodland before we jump on the bandwagon.

Have a good week.

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