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Power source changing for SLO and Morro Bay residents

Posted at 7:17 AM, Oct 21, 2019

The cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are swapping out power sources starting in just a couple months as part of a move toward cleaner electric.

Aside from a new line on their electric bill, energy customers really shouldn't notice a difference once the change from PG&E to Monterey Bay Community Power is complete.

Representatives of Monterey Bay Community Power said the real impact is to the environment.

It's been one year since the San Luis Obispo City Council committed to joining MBCP and now, the start of enrollment is just three months away.

J.R. Killigrew, the utility's director of communications, said MBCP power is a carbon free mix of renewable energy and hydro power that will provide customers a 5 percent cost savings.

For San Luis Obispo, that's an estimated $1.2 million in savings and for Morro Bay residents, the savings is estimated at $3-$400,000

Community choice energy is characterized by it's sustainability, competitive rates, and community control.

"Community choice energy has actually been around a long time," Killigrew said. "Back in 2002, Assembly Bill 117 allowed local governments to join and create a public agency to go out and source electricity on behalf of their customers. Then fast forward to 2010, the first community choice program launched in Marin, now we have 19 sister agencies across the state of California."

The switch will happen automatically.

Though the two cities are changing their power source to MBCP, the power will still be distributed by PG&E so it will still appear on the customer's bill.

Residents and businesses will receive four enrollment notices by mail, one each in November, December, February and March.

Just about every municipality across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are enrolling with MBCP. The holds outs are Atascadero, Goleta, Buellton and the County of San Luis Obispo.

"We're currently actually negotiating five additional contracts for ca renewables and we're really exciting about signing a memorandum of understanding for a developer to site a local generation project within our growing 5-county region because we serve customers not only in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties but we're actually expanding down to SLO and Santa Barbara Counties."

Information booths will also start appearing at farmers markets in San Luis Obispo.

The City of San Luis Obispo holds voting seats on MBCP's Policy and Operations Board and is represented on the company's community advisory council.

Residents who wish to continue using PG&E can submit a request to the utility.