PG&E to give customers more renewable energy options

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) reached an agreement with a group of consumer and other organizations to enhance its proposed "Green Option" to give electric customers an opportunity to support 100 percent renewable energy.

The revised proposal, which has been submitted for approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, would provide participating customers with energy from new small- and mid-sized solar energy projects located in PG&E's service area.

PG&E's original proposal, issued last year with support from elected officials and the environmental community, provided customers with an option to buy renewable energy certificates from new and existing projects, including those outside PG&E's service area. The new proposal would allow customers to directly support the development of new projects that generate clean energy in and around the communities that PG&E serves.

Under the new plan, participants will pay the full cost of the new renewable energy supplies built in direct response to their enrollment. Those additional supplies — provided under long-term contracts by third-party developers — will be incremental to the clean energy that PG&E already purchases for all of its customers. Participating customers will also receive credits for avoided PG&E generation costs, making the program more affordable. PG&E will actively market the plan throughout its service area, including low-income and minority communities.

PG&E is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the enhanced program this year, so the utility can begin offering the option soon thereafter.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a unit of PG&E Corp. (PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the U.S. Based in San Francisco, the company delivers energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. Nearly 60 percent of its electricity comes from sources that are renewable or free of greenhouse gas emissions.

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