Alternative energy plan for Butte County

Butte County and the City of Chico have a plan in the works to save customers about $5-million a year on electricity.

Posted: Sep 13, 2019 9:32 PM
Updated: Sep 13, 2019 9:39 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Butte County and the City of Chico have a plan in the works to save customers about $5-million a year on electricity.

"I think there needs to be competition and hopefully a break for the residents of the area," said Maggie Johnson from Chico.

Chico and the unincorporated areas of Butte County partnered to form an independent entity called "Butte Choice Energy."

Rather than leaving power production solely to PG&E -- the group can purchase power from other entities at a lower rate.
For many -- this sounds like freedom.

"I mean we're sort of held captive by them," said Johnson.

"To end PG&E's string to hold onto their monopoly to our generation we needed to create something like the CCA I mean if we were like Redding and had a dam where we could generator power off of it that's what Redding does they're a utility - Biggs has a power utility function as well and so the city operates as a power generator that's not something that we have available right now but what we absolutely can do is choose where we're purchasing our power," said Chico Mayor, Randall Stone.

If the new utility is created, PG&E will still own, maintain and transmit energy through its grid.

But -- people will be able to pick between PG&E or their own choice of energy, like green energy or lower costs.

"I think generally PG&E has not been our friend and we know that our rates are gonna go up which is one of the reasons I went to solar and we know that our rates are going to go up which is one of the reasons I just went to solar," said Johnson.

The county approved its planning ordinance this week.

Stone said the city council hasn't approved its ordinance yet but they are working to create a CCA.

"Butte Choice Energy" could go into effect by 2021 and people could save up to 2% on their power bills. ​

"Any way that the average person can save some money on things you need to utilize is good," said Johnson.

Revenues that are coming in from this program can be invested right back into the community - however, they choose to use it.

"We're doing this to save money and be environmentally conscience," said Stone.

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