FAQs

/FAQs

MCE is a public, not-for-profit electricity provider that gives all PG&E electric customers (residential, commercial, and municipal) the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric—at competitive rates.

We were formed in 2008, following six years of careful study and development, and our service was launched to customers on May 7, 2010, as California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program. Currently, we provide renewable energy to more than 470,000 customers.

Historically, investor-owned utilities have been the default service provider to customers in their jurisdictions. However, in 2002, when state legislators passed California’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) law, this default status was transferred from the investor-owned utility to the local community choice aggregator (CCA) when available. MCE is California’s first operating CCA program. The original CCA legislation, seeing the wisdom of collective community action, mandated that the customers residing in the service area would automatically be enrolled, unless they chose not to participate by opting out.

MCE’s service area includes all of Marin and Napa Counties, unincorporated Contra Costa County, and the Cities and Towns of Benicia, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.

No. MCE buys and builds cleaner electricity sources. This electricity is fed onto the statewide shared electric grid and then moves down the path of least resistance to customers. This is why accounting is important. Clean energy is accounted through contracts and renewable energy certificates that confer the “renewable attributes” of that energy. It needs to work this way because individual electrons can’t be routed from a wind turbine to a particular house that just signed up for green power without building a new transmission line directly from the source to the home. MCE, just like PG&E, reports power purchases to the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission so you can be sure that we are putting cleaner electricity onto the grid on behalf of our customers.

Yes. In fact, MCE offers one of the most favorable Net Energy Metering programs in California.

Net metering allows customers to turn their meters backwards and receive credit at times when their solar systems generate more power than is used on-site. NEM customers are charged when they use more power than their system produces. The credits and charges are netted out either monthly or annually.

The California Public Utilities Commission requires PG&E to treat MCE generation customers the same as PG&E generation customers. That means that MCE provides generation credits and charges, while PG&E continues to charge for transmission, distribution, and all other services.

We have short and long-term contracts with a variety of power suppliers to meet the energy needs of our customers. Each year, we host an “open season” process where developers or owners of renewable energy projects can propose contracts. We also operate a Feed-In Tariff program, through which local developers can create and sell small renewable energy projects directly to us at a set price, provided that they are located in our service area.

MCE is financed by the revenues received from our customers based on the electricity they consume. MCE is self-funded and does not use any tax dollars. MCE is a not-for-profit public agency which ensures that any financial benefits directly serve the community.

No, MCE does not receive tax dollars. MCE is funded by the revenue received from our customers based on the electricity they use.

No. The cities and counties have firewalled their general funds through the formation of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA). The debts and liabilities of the JPA do not extend to the member cities and counties. This firewall is protected by state law.

No. The Directors are not paid by MCE. The MCE Board of Directors is comprised of elected city and county officials representing each of the communities that MCE serves.

The MCE Board of Directors sets electric generation rates for our customers. We value public participation and transparency, which is why our rates are developed, discussed, evaluated, and approved at public meetings right here in San Rafael. We invite you to attend and give us your feedback. Rate-setting typically occurs on an annual basis, and new rates are usually approved in April.

If you are a customer who uses the Budget Billing (previously called Balanced Payment Plan) option with PG&E, you will continue to receive your gas and electric delivery charges from PG&E in the Budget Billing form. However, your electric generation charges from MCE will not be included in your Budget Billing calculation and will vary from month to month, depending on your usage. Therefore, you will see some variance on your monthly bills.

Yes. MCE customers enrolled in CARE and/or FERA will continue to receive their discount; there is no need to reapply with MCE. New CARE and FERA enrollments or renewals are done through PG&E’s customer service center or website. If you think you may be eligible to receive a CARE and/or FERA discount and would like to sign up, please call PG&E at 1-866-743-2273 or visit PG&E’s website.

Yes. MCE customers enrolled Medical Baseline Allowance will continue to receive their full discount; there is no need to reapply with MCE. New Medical Baseline Allowance enrollments or renewals are done through PG&E’s customer service center or website. If you believe you are eligible for the Medical Baseline Allowance program and would like to sign up, please call PG&E at 1-866-743-5000 or visit PG&E’s website.

No. PG&E must provide the same delivery rates for all customers in their service area whether or not they receive electricity from MCE or another third-party energy service provider.

Yes. Any resident or business in MCE’s service area can choose MCE’s renewable energy service. This includes: Marin and Napa Counties, unincorporated Contra Costa County, and the Cities and Towns of Benicia, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. To check on the status of your account, please call us at 1 (888) 632-3674 or email info@mcecleanenergy.org. Please have your PG&E account information on hand.

Establishing service is easy. Contact PG&E one week before you will need service at your new address to schedule an appointment: 1 (800) 743-5000 or visit PG&E’s website.

Customers starting new electric service accounts in our service area will start with our Light Green 50% renewable energy. We will mail you two notices within the first sixty days of service with terms and conditions and instructions for opting out, should you choose to do so.

No. MCE supports your power to choose! Any customer may opt out of MCE service in order to choose PG&E service. The choice is yours.

Customers who opt out before starting MCE service or within the first 60 days of MCE service may return to MCE service at any time. Customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with MCE will be prohibited by PG&E from returning to MCE for one year.

There is no charge for opting out of MCE before or within the first 60 days of service. After the first 60 days of service, MCE will charge a one-time $5 (residential) or $25 (commercial) administrative fee.

Our energy is mostly produced from non-polluting, renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and bioenergy. The projects that produce our electricity are located in California, the Pacific Northwest, and Colorado. The exact proportion of each varies with time, based on demand and availability. For example, MCE may use a higher proportion of hydroelectric energy during the spring and summer months when winter run-off generates more power at affordable prices. Learn more about MCE’s power sources.

We are required to report to the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission on an annual basis to verify the amount of renewable energy procured for our customers. This is the same standard used by other California utilities, such as PG&E, for verification purposes.

Green-e Energy, an independent third-party, also verifies MCE’s Deep Green 100% renewable energy supply and ensures that it meets the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more about green power certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Renewable energy credits, or “RECs,” are accounting mechanisms used to track renewable energy production and provide proof that electricity has been generated from an eligible renewable energy resource and delivered to the electric grid. One REC represents one megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable energy. This system allows utilities to document their progress towards sustainability goals, such as fulfilling—or in the case of MCE, surpassing—the requirements of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard program.

RECs, which have been endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are also an integral element of affordable, voluntary green pricing programs, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Greenergy®, the City of Palo Alto (Palo Alto Green), and Silicon Valley Power (Santa Clara Green Power), as well as by PG&E.

There are three types of RECs:

Category 1 (Bundled): RECs are associated and permanently attached (“bundled”) to renewable energy that is delivered from eligible renewable resources within California.

Category 2 (Bundled): RECs are associated and permanently attached (“bundled”) to renewable energy that is generated outside of California—but within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC)—and “firmed and shaped” upon delivery into the California grid by coupling it with an equivalent volume of energy from an alternative source, typically hydroelectric or natural gas.

Category 3 (Unbundled): RECs are associated with renewable energy that is generated within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council but are not attached to any physical energy. This category of REC allows businesses, organizations, and institutions to claim the environmental benefits of renewable energy generation to help satisfy the sustainability goals or requirements assigned by their local, state, or federal government. Beginning in 2016, MCE committed to limit its usage of unbundled renewable energy credits (RECs) to a maximum of 3% of its entire energy portfolio.

For more information, please visit the U.S. EPA website.

If you are an MCE customer the front page of your PG&E bill will include a line item called “MCE Electric Generation Charges.” If you are a Deep Green customer, you will see a line item called “Deep Green 100% renewable energy” on the “Third Party Detail” page of your bill. You can also check your account status by calling us at 1 (888) 632-3674 with your PG&E account number (found on your bill) or by emailing us at info@mceCleanEnergy.org.

No. PG&E continues to provide all gas services, electric delivery, billing, and power line maintenance. MCE only replaces the electric generation services with 50-100% renewable energy at competitive rates.

All MCE customers are still PG&E customers. PG&E provides electric delivery services for MCE customers, like meter reading and power line maintenance. PG&E will continue to send your electric bill, which will include MCE electric generation charges. MCE’s electric generation charges replace PG&E’s electric generation charges and account for the source of your energy. MCE is buying and building cleaner electricity supply for you. Learn more about billing.

Electricity meters continue to be owned and read by PG&E. Therefore, MCE does not have any control over whether or not our customers receive SmartMeters from PG&E.

MCE is governed by a 28-member Board of Directors representing each of the member communities that it serves. MCE’s local government structure ensures public transparency. The Board conducts its business in monthly meetings that are always open to the public. For more information about our Board and Committee meetings, please see the Meeting Archive.

When California deregulated the energy market in 1997, many Californians switched to alternative energy providers. Following the energy crisis of 2000-01, consumer choice of electricity providers was suspended. As a response to the closing of the open market, Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which offers an opportunity for California communities to choose the source of their electricity. MCE was California’s first Community Choice Aggregation agency. Today there are several CCAs operating and soon-to-launch throughout California.

Sign up for Deep Green online or by phone at 1 (888) 632-3674. Please have your PG&E bill account information on hand to complete your enrollment.

Sign up for Local Sol online or by phone at 1 (888) 632-3674. Please have your PG&E account information on hand to complete your enrollment. Local Sol is limited to approximately 300 customers.

Customers may request to opt out of MCE service at any time. There is a five-day business window for processing opt-out requests, and your account must be transferred on your regularly scheduled meter read date. If you request to opt out of MCE service after 60 days of service, PG&E will prohibit you from returning to MCE for one year. In addition, PG&E provides two options for customers who wish to return to PG&E after the first 60 days of service:

  1. A customer may request to return to PG&E by providing 6 months advance notice. The customer will continue to receive energy from MCE for 6 months, after which time they will return to PG&E. PG&E will apply their standard rates upon the customer’s return.
  2. A customer may request to return to PG&E immediately, but will be subject to PG&E’s Transitional Bundled Commodity Cost (TBCC) rate program for 6 months instead of PG&E’s traditional rates. PG&E’s TBCC rate is transitional and varies from month to month.

Customers should contact PG&E for more information about TBCC and their options for returning to PG&E after the first 60 days of service with MCE.

Customers may opt out online or by phone at 1 (888) 632-3674. Please have your PG&E bill or account information on hand in order to process your request.

Yes. MCE customers can switch between the Light Green, Deep Green, and Local Sol products at any time by calling us at 1 (888) 632-3674 or emailing info@mcecleanenergy.org. Please have your PG&E account information on hand to complete your change.

MCE’s 50% renewable electricity are competitive with–and often lower than–PG&E’s 33% renewable electricity for typical customers. Part of MCE’s mission is to provide stable and competitive rates. MCE has reduced rates the past two years in a row. For more information, sample cost comparisons, and cost calculators, please visit Rates.