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Local towns sign up for 100 percent renewable energy

 
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Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley, along with several other San Mateo County municipalities, have signed up as customers of the new Peninsula Clean Energy program to buy municipal electricity that is 100 percent from renewable sources.

Atherton's City Council voted for the 100 percent renewable option, called Eco100, at its Sept. 21 meeting. In addition to the other local towns, Brisbane, Foster City, Millbrae and Redwood City have signed up for that option, according to Atherton City Council member Rick DeGolia, who is the town's representative to Peninsula Clean Energy.

The Peninsula Clean Energy program starts Oct. 1, but will be rolled out to San Mateo County customers in phases over the coming year. The program was formed when all San Mateo County municipalities joined the county to form a Community Choice Aggregation system, a cooperative which bypasses Pacific Gas & Electric to provide a higher percentage of electricity from renewable sources than the electricity provided by PG&E, which is 30 percent from renewable sources.

PG&E still provides the billing and delivers the power.

Mr. DeGolia said the program has 299,598 potential customers in the county, but so far only 491 have opted out — "a remarkably low percentage," he said.

Most customers will be given the choice to:

• Opt out of the program and remain with PG&E.

• Do nothing and be automatically signed up for the EcoPlus option, which provides electricity that is 50 percent from renewable sources (and should cost slightly less than PG&E's power).

• Opt for the Eco100 option, which will cost as estimated 2.5 to 3 percent more than PG&E.

The town's electric bill is projected to go up by a little less than $7,000 a year, City Manager George Rodericks told the council.

Portola Valley's Town Council has voted make the Eco100 option the default for its residents when the program is rolled out there.

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