By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to ease the path for local governments — including the Sonoma County Water Agency — seeking to establish their own power agencies.
SB 790, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, strengthens existing law requiring privately owned utilities to cooperate with public power efforts.
Among other provisions, the legislation also expanded the range of government entities that can take on so-called “community choice aggregation” projects.
The new list includes the county water agency, which is studying the feasibility of getting into the power business following orders earlier this year from county supervisors.
Agency officials said that a report due out later this week will conclude that a government power effort would result in a trade-off: more local jobs and increased greenhouse gas reductions in exchange for higher rates than those currently paid by PG&E customers.
The Board of Supervisors, which oversees the water agency, is set to decide next Tuesday whether to authorize more work on a power project.