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Are You Happy with Marin Clean Energy So Far?

If you're among the 95,000 customers of the upstart 'green' energy authority, tell us how it's going for you.

Here's question for Marin Clean Energy customers in Mill Valley: Notice a difference?

It's only been a short time since Pacific Gas and Electric customers were given an option, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"power-to-the-people-council-votes-to-join-marin-energy"} --> to stick with PG&E power or opt out and purchase power from the county's still-new joint powers authority that purchases a higher percentage of renewable energy. Although the city government has , customers were

Peg Atherton September 18, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I am delighted with Marin Energy. I celebrate them with every bill. I just received a PUC forced refund from PG&E (>$270.00) who was doing everything (both legal and not) to make my bill higher. (PG&E was charging me for energy that they had contracted for in the late 90's, claiming that since they had agreed to buy it on my behalf, I had to buy it now). Just another dirty PG&E trick. Marin Energy never charges more than the current PG&E rates. I do celebrate Marin Energy!
Jim Phelps September 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM
?? Marin Energy never charges more than the current PG&E rates ?? The monthly and on-going PG&E exit fee that you pay as a result of MEA switching you into MEA, was supposed to be paid by MEA. MEA broke that commitment and shifted the cost back onto you, but now says its “rates” are almost equal to PG&E, as do you, Peg. Not so fast. PG&E “total cost” = $0.07076 (generation) = 7.076 cents. MEA “total cost” = $0.0690 (generation) + $0.00841 (PG&E exit fee) = 7.741 cents. MEA premium = 9.4%
Chester Hunt September 19, 2012 at 07:54 PM
idk, shenanigans aside (i.e. generation this, distribution that, conservation Incentive adjustment etc....) here are my bottom line numbers on my last bill vs current bill. Pre MCE - 300kwh usage = $42.71 Post MCE - 286kwh usage = $41.51 I suppose if it cleans my air im fine with it. The diff in cost as far as I can tell is minimal.
Harold H. September 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
300 KWHs? Do you live in a rabbit hutch?
Rico September 20, 2012 at 09:04 PM
If it cleans your air ? An average monthly bill for a single family house that runs an air conditioner in the hot season is around 3,000 kilowatt/hours per month, and that is just for electricity, gas is extra. Oh, and if you have a pool, the bill will be higher. The MMWD switched all their accounts over to MEA a few months ago, and now the ratepayers are paying around 30 percent more for electricity, that was one of the reasons for raising our rates AGAIN. Those MEA/MCE brokerage fees really add up fast for large users of electricity, and PG&E still gets paid for distribution, revenue collection , operating and maintaining the power grid. PG&E is not losing any profits to MEA, it is the MEA customers who pay for the extra MEA brokerage fees for the Shell power.
Harold H. September 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Ricardo, PG&E shows its average residential load throughout its service territory is 540 KwHrs per month, but that may be for gas & electric rate base, rather than all electric (climate rate TB versus climate rate TH). If TH then way higher than 540 KwHrs. MEA uses 540 KwHrs in its discussions, but that's not representative of Marin, which is higher. "Chester's" consumption is probably lower, post-MCE (I guess that means he's an MCE ratepayer and forgot to Opt Out), because MCE's HIGHER COSTS were cutting into his lettuce budget. "Chester" and "Peg" are likely MEA staffers or public relations contractors who are paid to pepper these public boards with spin, marketing, and propaganda. I mean, Peg is delighted to get a bill? Someone’s gott’a be paying her to say that -- I’m NEVER delighted to get any bill. (Peg, if you’re reading this, I’d like a drag on whatever it is you’re smoking – golly you’re such an upbeat lady!). But your contract description actually reads "provide communications-related services for the Marin Energy Authority as directed by MEA staff." ...right, "Peg"? 3/01/12 MEA agenda, no?
Rico September 21, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Average electrical residential load does not account for users that use no gas and are all electric. Average can be deceiving, and that entirely depends which part of the PG&E service territory is being surveyed. PG&E serves some very hot areas where running 50 amps @240 volts for 10 hours a day is "average" for the area. And even in southern Marin, I have wired up multiple 4 ton air conditioning units in one house, I installed a 400 amp main service at that house in Mill Valley. At that house, their average electric bill (not including gas) is over $2,600 per month, and goes way up when they run their irrigation well pumps in the summer. So, it depends on the area and the style of living, take Ross for instance, I have customers there that have "average" electric bills of over $2,000 per month. Those gate houses, pool houses, caretakers houses, pool pumps and heaters, spas, electric gates, elevators, entertainment rooms, elevators, hillevators, electric gates, security systems, automation systems and yes even PG&Es SmartMeters all suck up a lot of power. Chester must live in a one room studio apartment in Novato, and use gas for water heating, studio heating and cooking, that is how people skew electric bills, and Chester is not your "average bear".
Chester Hunt September 21, 2012 at 05:40 AM
No, no, no. I used an average of 100-150/kwh per month when i lived in a studio apartment in Tiburon. And yes. I did heat it with my gas stove. It was great. My current use is based on a 1600/ft house in Mill Valley, no hot tub, but i do have irrigation. I really just do not use that much. But then again I have completely updated appliances and PGE paid me rebates for installing. But alas, I am a conflicted soul, I have investments in uranium, and tobacco, I dont drive a hybrid and receive royalties from windmills on farmland. If I could get MCE to sponsor me somehow..... now you guys are true capitalists. Thanks for the idea.
Rico September 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Chester, You are very conservative with your electricity use, but this is not average. You must live by yourself and have nobody else using electricity unsupervised. No doubt you have a gas clothes dryer, gas water heater, gas furnace (or use wood for heat) and gas range/oven. Or maybe you do your laundry at a laundromat, eat out all the time, like a cold house in the winter, have no air conditioning, don't use a computer much and seldom watch tv. Irrigation does not use much electricity unless you have well pumps. Also, you must be very careful about lighting, and probably are not home that much during the day. So, since you posted your low electric bill, how much is your energy statement from PG&E including gas and MEA brokerage fees ? And keep in mind, when you go out to eat, the eating establishment pays for all the energy it uses and includes it in your meal bill. As for being a capitalist, I don't consider myself as one. Every dollar that I earn is from working, creating and producing things and I don't play with other peoples money to make more. The MEA is pure capitalism, they produce absolutely nothing, don't have much work to do but shuffling paper, and the best thing of all, they suckered the ratepayers of the MMWD to lend them the $1 million start up money. They were able to pay us back within 1 year because we ratepayers of the MMWD now pay about $230,000 PER QUARTER MORE for MCE brokerage fees for electricity than before.
MillValleyMom September 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Ricardo, It really Isn't that low for this time of year. Our last PG&E bill was $43.59. This was gas and electric combined. Of course, it is higher in the winter when we have to heat the house. Our house is 1300 sq ft with two adults and a teenage girl who takes very long showers. We do have a gas dryer and a tankless gas water heater. On the other hand the $43 was our entire bill. We do use metered billing meaning we pay less because we don't use major appliances between 1 and 7 pm.
Pete Adams September 21, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Even the EPA is in on the MEA green RECs scam. That's what the University of California concludes. Here’s the link: http://energybrokernetwork.com/press_ltr.pdf RECs excerpts:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hailed UC Santa Cruz for purchasing 100 percent green power.  My students thought they were subsidizing wind power. What they actually got was a lot of hot air.  getting fleeced by green-energy scammers  Federal agencies are in on the act, too. The EPA hands out annual awards for the most green power purchased through REC suppliers  scams like this threaten to discredit the market. MEA, stop BSing people with your RECs, stop deflecting to PG&E when trying not to answer questions about your own actions, and STOP working with Shell Oil !
Rico September 22, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Thanks Pete, That summed up the REC scam very well. At first MCE/MEA only wanted larger consumers of electricity like the MMWD (the largest) and other municipalities and commercial users. Then they (thanks to Charles McGlashan) started forcing all electric customers into the scam by making the opt in automatic and opting out was extra. I have seen the reports about how much PG&E sells the power wholesale, and how much MCE buys it for wholesale, after paying PG&E for the delivery and billing of all electricity in Marin. I opted out of MCE from day one, so I don't have a list of their retail rates that show up on peoples PG&E bills including the MEA brokerage fees. Here is what I have seen from PG&E on my customers bills that are TH (meaning an all electric house). All Electric Baseline: 291.2000 Kwh @ $0.12845 101-130%of Baseline @ $0.14602 131-200% of Baseline @ $0.29561 201-300% of Baseline @ $0.33561 over 300% of Baseline @ 0..33561 The bills that I have reviewed all went into tier 4, it is very easy for an all electric single family detached house to go over 201% of a 291 Kwh Baseline at which the rate is $0.335 per Kwh, that is thirty three and a half cents per kilowatt/hour. So, what I am asking is for someone who has been automatically opted to in MEA and is a residential customer in a single family detached house (not a condo-apartment or townhome) to please share with us what the tier 4 rates are per kilowatt hour after the MEA markup. Thank you.
Rico September 22, 2012 at 01:34 AM
The reasons that I specify in my request that people be living in a single family detached house (mortgaged, actually owned outright or rented) is that people who live in condos and townhomes do not own the buildings or the grounds, and there are "house panels" that provide all the electricity for all the common areas like walkways, halls, stairs, car ports, water pumps , sewer ejector pumps, elevators, trash compactors, pool heaters and pumps, community facilities like rec rooms and exercise equipment, security systems, fire alarm systems (life safety) and management offices. Note that the tenants all pay for the electricity used by the common areas through what they call HOA dues (rent) monthly. But that energy is not charged on an individual tenants electricity bill. That is a huge difference when someone claims that they only use XXX amount of kilowatt/hours per month as shown on their PG&E bill. It is very important in my business that we know the total energy costs of operating and managing buildings
Tom September 22, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Ricardo, you could not be more wrong: I just paid my first MCE bill for my large home. I USED to be a tier 4 user, but MCE does not charge by tiers. I pay a flat rate of 6.9cents per kWh no matter how much I use. The PG&E side of my bill is higher, though. And this whole RECs business is a non-issue. Even without counting the RECs, they sell the most renewable energy in the state. Look at the RPS reports. Why are you even posting here if you never got their service? Look at the title....
Jim Phelps September 22, 2012 at 03:51 PM
MEA followed PG&E’s lead. PG&E announced a flat rate for “generation” effective July 1. MEA followed suit. However, the total bundled energy bill is still tiered. After you add the PG&E exit fee to MEA’s rate (exit fee that MEA committed to pay and then changed its mind 7 months after business launch because it realized it could not “meet or beat PG&E rate”), MEA premium is 9.4%. MEA is now involved in some strange dealings including its 15 MW Rio Solar project that is so far off track the developer tried a workaround on CEQA (don’t environmental laws apply to MEA?) to get part of the plant on line through a loophole. Chinese PV panels are used there... and at the San Rafael airport project. The most egregious thing about MEA is its claim that it’s reduced or eliminated many thousands of tons of GHGs, per RPS reports. This is false. MEA’s reduction is ZERO because, to date, it is merely taking title to energy that was previously sold to other consumers. Those displaced consumers buy green power from other resources, displacing others until the guys without a chair when the music stops must buy brown power. Think of it this way... say MEA buys all energy output from every green energy plant in the world. Now, does the atmosphere realize a reduction in GHGs? No. MEA “reduces” nothing until one of its net-new resources is placed into service. And that hasn’t happened yet.
Rico September 22, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Thank you Jim for clearing this up about the MEA brokerage fee (markup). And Tom, the reason that I asked the question about the additional costs by a customer being automatically switched to MEA is because I am not one who opted in, just like I never opted into PG&E's SmartMeter program. The question"are you happy with MCE so far" includes everyone who reads it, whether they actually fell for the automatic opt-in or not. And thank you Tom for your answer, your bill is higher now than before you had MEA. That makes sense, because anytime a middleman broker is added into the mix, the total bill will NEVER be less or equal to than before. My next question is , " is the PG&E bill only 9.4% more as Jim suggests ?", or, knowing the utility provider doing the billing, is it actually more than 9.4% . Knowing PG&E, they are going to find a creative way to make a profit off of any middlemen muscling in on any small part of their monopoly. My answer to the original question is " No, I am not happy with MEA at all, and I knew it would cost customers more so I did not opt-in". I posted this link before, but many may not have seen it. It explains in depth about the MEA/MCE/Shell Oil scam, as well as discussing many other energy issues that concern us all. www.solartimes.org
Jim Phelps September 22, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I feel bad about how MEA's polluted the promise of community choice aggregation. Weak leadership and a complex business... trapped themselves with impossible “clean” promises. MEA’s total cost for "generation" is 9.4% more expensive than PG&E. Period. Generation is all that MEA sells. MEA ratepayers and PG&E ratepayers pay identical amounts for transmission, distribution, DWR bonds, CTC, etc. When those unbundled components are rolled up into the total bundled bill, MEA obscures its premium in the math. But make no mistake, MEA residential ratepayers pay 9.4% premium for their generation and their generation is the EXACT SAME electrons that everybody else gets, including PG&E ratepayers. MEA is a feel-good tax, just as RECs are a feel-good scam as Pete Adams notes, above. The EPA is lost in RECs just as it’s lost in MEA's "green" landfill resources. MEA is now on the hook for $117 million in landfill gas contract obligations, while the Sierra Club concludes landfill resources INCREASE greenhouse gases. It’s very sad what MEA is doing. http://millvalley.patch.com/blog_posts/meas-conflict-with-the-sierra-club-d04d611f
Larry Bathgate September 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Ricardo, I live in Tam Valley and have the same experience as MillValleyMom..our electricity is used only for lights, microwave, refrigerator, and electronic devices and we typically use about 320 kwh each month during the summer. In the winter, we use more lighting of course, with additional juice going to power the heater fan. But we don't have aircon which I'm sure makes a big difference.
B George October 13, 2012 at 07:10 PM
"Tom," Shame on Marin Energy for letting this faleshood stand without responding to your post! MEA charges 6.9 cents, PLUS exit fees, PLUS surcharge fees for a total of 7.74 cents. PG&E charges 7.07 cents per kilowatt hour. These flat rates apply to the "Generation" line of your total electric bill. Tiered pricing still applies to everyone. You pay 10% MORE for Marin Energy Authority's "generation." MEA's RECs are NOT "in the state." They're in Washington and Oregon. You're getting the exact same energy as your neighbor gets from PG&E... except you're paying 10% more for it.
Kevin Moore October 30, 2012 at 03:50 PM
There is one upside to MEA, it gives PG&E something to worry about when considering rate increases. The rest is not so good. Shell Energy gave MEA a great contract to get into the Marin energy market. We will see how good a deal they get in the next contract negotiation. That might be when I switch back to PG&E. IMHO, the REC credits are just an expensive feel good scam and the FTC should force energy companies to disclose when they are being used to "clean up dirty energy". Neither PG&E, nor MEA really seem interested in giving the consumer a direct comparison in rates. Confused people simply give up and pay what ever is charged. Our county supervisors, who created MEA, seem to be unwilling to force a easy to understand table to be created.

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