Marin Clean Energy launched its service Friday to residents in unincorporated Marin County and seven of the county's cities and towns that chose to enroll in the state's first Community Choice Aggregation energy program.
The launch of the first phase, which will serve 7,500 customers, was celebrated at a ceremony on the island green of the Marin County Fairgrounds.
The second phase begins in late spring or early summer 2011. The Marin Energy Authority expects total enrollment in the Marin Clean Energy will be 71,000 customers.
Marin Clean Energy, a Community Choice Aggregation Program, is an alternative to PG&E and other utility companies. It allows electricity consumers to choose nonpolluting, renewable energy.
The Community Choice Aggregation program was established by the state Legislature in 2002 to give cities and counties the ability to procure electricity on behalf of its customers.
Marin Clean Energy will purchase the electric supply while PG&E continues to deliver the electricity, maintain and repair transmission lines and provide customer service and billing.
Under the Community Choice Aggregation, the source of the electric generation and the price paid by customers will be determined locally. Customers can choose to participate or remain with their current utility company.
Marin County Supervisor and Chairman of the Marin Energy Authority Charles McGlashan, said today's launch of Marin Clean Energy, shows communities have a meaningful role in deciding where their energy comes from.
He said it will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gases while ensuring customers get the reliable service they expect.
Marin Clean Energy's Light Green Program offers 25 percent renewable energy and its Deep Green program provides customers with an affordable option to receive 100 percent renewable energy.
Marin Clean Energy's Interim Director Dawn Weisz said, "We expect to provide 100 percent renewable power to all out customers well before 2020, well before any of the investor-owned utilities, and at a lower cost."
Marin Clean Energy filed a complaint against PG&E, claiming it violated state law by spending millions of dollars in an effort to defeat the local program.
The California Public Utilities Commission on Monday said PG&E violated state rules by trying to get people to opt out of Marin Clean Energy.
Members of Marin Clean Energy include the cities of Belvedere, Mill Valley, San Rafael and Sausalito, the towns of Fairfax, San Anselmo and Tiburon and Marin County.