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When Felton citizen Danielle Cruz afresh ripped accessible her account account bill, she was abashed to see a new “electric bearing charge” from a aggregation alleged Monterey Bay Association Power.

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“It acquainted like it was slipped into our bill actual secretly,” Cruz said. “And for those of us who do auto pay, it could calmly be overlooked.”

Cruz is hardly alone. Monterey-based Monterey Bay Association Ability was bombarded with calls and emails inquiring about the new fee and higher-than-expected bills. Facebook users created groups to air grievances about how the about-face to a new electric aggregation was actuality implemented.

The acknowledgment adumbrated that abounding Monterey Bay breadth association are in the aphotic about the change. So actuality are some questions and answers about what the about-face bureau and how it affects you.

Q: Just what is Monterey Bay Association Power?

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A: The abbreviate acknowledgment is that MBCP is a bounded activity provider that focuses on accepting apple-pie activity in the action adjoin altitude change. The best acknowledgment is that MBCP is a alleged Association Choice Activity agency. Bounded adopted admiral sit on the MBCP lath and assignment on account of Monterey Bay association and businesses to buy carbon-free electricity. The new bureau serves association and businesses in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.  All activity consumers and businesses in those counties were automatically enrolled in the affairs aback it was launched  earlier this year. Businesses and farms got a new electric provider in March, while homeowners and renters were enrolled alpha in July.

Q: Why was I automatically enrolled? I never asked for this.

A: Companies allegation barter – decidedly electric companies that are attempting to buy activity at acceptable rates. And the 2002 law that encouraged the accumulation of Association Choice Activity agencies permits automated acceptance in their programs. This is done because community-based ability companies are accustomed antecedence over investor-owned utilities such as San Francisco-based PG&E. The accompaniment Legislature anesthetized the law afterwards deregulation of the electric industry beatific retail prices soaring, arch to rolling blackouts and the collapse of investor-owned account companies.

Q: But why does my account bill still attending like a PG&E bill?

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A: That’s because PG&E is still complex in carrying electricity to your home or business. Here’s how it works: MBCP procures the electricity from activity providers on our account – acceptation that it alcove out to companies that accommodate addition sources of activity such as solar and wind power. MBCP again tries to bang a accord to accompany it to the Monterey Bay area. That activity is again delivered by PG&E through its manual lines. The account additionally continues to handle announcement services, which is why your bill still comes from PG&E.

Q: What is this new “electric generation” fee? Does this beggarly I’m advantageous added for electricity?

A: No. Because two altered entities (PG&E and MBCP) are now administration our energy, fees that were already lumped calm on your bill are actuality separated.  Before, PG&E had one allegation for both breeding and carrying your electricity. Now that MBCP has taken allegation of award energy, those fees arise alone on your bill. The new “electric bearing charge” is from MBCP for affairs your electricity. PG&E accuse electric commitment fees. Customers enrolled in the MBCP program, however, no best allegation to pay PG&E for breeding the power. The aggregation includes a new “generation credit” in its breadth of the bill to account its old fee. So association and businesses are not advantageous alike charges. If you still accept you are advantageous more, analyze your bill from the aforementioned aeon aftermost year to the accepted one. Although ante may accept afflicted from aftermost year, the allegory will accommodate a clearer account about your archetypal activity acceptance than artlessly attractive at the antecedent bill. One acumen for some of the contempo alarm is that PG&E switched from winter to summer rates, which are about higher, appropriate about the time that MBCP took over residential accounts.

Q. What about my bill for accustomed gas? Is that different?

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A. No. PG&E is still your gas provider.

Q: What are the advantages of accepting my electricity from Monterey Bay Association Ability rather than PG&E?

A: Because MBCP is a accessible agency, some of the profits will be pumped aback into the community. J.R. Killigrew, a agent for MBCP, said the bureau over the new year expects to advance added than $1 actor in association programs such as electric agent charging stations and low absorption ante for solar systems. Perhaps the best news: Barter will accept a 3 percent abatement for electricity at the end of the year aback the nonprofit MBCP doesn’t accept to pay its shareholders dividends. That will bulk to about $3.5 actor in the tri-county area.

Q: Why didn’t I apprehend about this switch?

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A: MBCP has done TV, bi-weekly and web announcement as able-bodied as captivated abundant beat contest over the aftermost year to let association and businesses apperceive about the switch, including workshops and contest at farmer’s markets. It additionally beatific out several mailings. But MBCP admiral accede that some association – decidedly bodies who are new to the breadth – may accept collapsed through the cracks.

Q: Where is MBCP accepting my electricity? Is it absolutely 100 percent clean?

A: Activity provided by MBCP is 100 percent carbon-free. Seventy percent comes in the anatomy of hydroelectric ability from places like Hoover Dam and the Pacific Northwest. Thirty percent comes mostly from solar and wind projects throughout the West. According to MBCP backer Shelly Whitworth, while best of this activity is accessible 24/7, some electricity during periods of aerial appeal may appear from borer into underground hot baptize reservoirs. This geothermal activity itself is still carbon-free, but the action may absolution some underground greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By 2030, MBCP aims to access its solar, wind and added renewable activity to 60 percent. It afresh appear a accord for activity from a wind acreage in New Mexico, in affiliation with addition bounded Association Choice Activity agency, Silicon Valley Apple-pie Energy. Plans are additionally in the works to buy ability from abate renewable activity projects in the Monterey Bay area.

Q: I’m still afflictive with this change. Can I about-face aback to PG&E?

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A: Yes, you can about-face back. But you will accept to pay $5. If you are absorbed in opting-out, you can complete a anatomy on the MBCP website at www.mbcommunitypower.org/opt-out/.

Q: Is switching aback a acute move?

A: It’s up to you. But Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, administrator of MBCP’s action lath that gave bearing to the activity in 2013, hopes businesses and association will accord the new bureau a chance. “It is absolutely a abundant archetype of how we can assignment calm to get article done for the acceptable of the accepted account of abbreviation greenhouse gas emissions,” said McPherson, a above accompaniment administrator and California secretary of state. “A lot of bodies said that this couldn’t be done. For me personally, this is the best satisfactory affair I’ve anytime done in my political career.”

For advice about your account bill or activity services, acquaintance Monterey Bay Association Ability at [email protected] or 888-909-6227.

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