WatchSonoma Watch

Sebastopol sets vote on public power agency



Sebastopol’s green-minded City Council will consider joining the Sonoma County Clean Power Authority power linesin two weeks, leaving room to make the latest deadline for participation in a plan aimed at providing communities with an alternative to PG&E.

Three council members voted late Tuesday night to put the local power agency’s proposal on the July 2 agenda.

Sonoma Clean Power is asking eight cities to join a joint powers authority that could supplant PG&E as the area’s chief energy source, offering the prospect of competitive rates and a greener power portfolio.

So far only the Board of Supervisors, representing the county’s unincorporated area, and Windsor’s Town Council have voted to join the agency. Together, they account for about 38 percent of electricity used in Sonoma County.

Sebastopol Mayor Michael Kyes, whose city accounts for 1.7 percent of the county’s electricity usage, said Wednesday that the alternative power concept is appealing and that many city residents “will go for any other option.”

“We’ve had some rocky interactions with PG&E over the past year,” he said, referring to a prolonged dispute over the installation of SmartMeters.

But key details — the price and cleanness of the power, as well as governance of the agency — remain uncertain, Kyes said.

The mayor said his preference was to wait to see what Santa Rosa does on July 9, which is now the deadline for cities to join Sonoma Clean Power.

Vice Mayor Robert Jacob and council members Sarah Gurney and Patrick Slayter voted to consider the matter July 2. Councilman John Eder joined Kyes in opposing the motion.

Slayter said Wednesday he is leaning toward enrollment in the power plan because it seems to be “a little bit more aggressive” about obtaining power from renewable resources.

There’s no guarantee that the city will know more about the plan in early July than it does now, he said.

“I wish we all had more time to think about it,” Slayter said.

But he said he understands the rationale for the July 9 deadline in the face of rising interest rates and the likelihood of rising energy costs.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

4 Responses to “Sebastopol sets vote on public power agency”

  1. andrew simpson says:

    Think of that car repair guy who said you needed an engine rebuild. $5000.

    Turns out you just needed sparkplugs. $300.

    Same deal with Sonoma Clean Power.

    Consider who you’re dealing with.

    The Sonoma County of Supervisors, the Water Agency senior managers and County Counsel have no method—in fact no concept—for analyzing a contract, a new project, or consulting relationship except on this basis: If I don’t go along with this skim, bribe. graft, payoff or blatant misuse of public funds, will I be pushed out of my job?

    There is no other explanation for Sonoma Clean Power. Just as there is no other explanation for:

    • Sonoma County’s billion dollar over commitment to retirement benefits

    • Sonoma County’s billion dollar under investment in roads

    • The Board of Supervisors’ blind eye to the Water Agency’s $95,000 payoff of a Santa Rosa Planning Commissioner in 2010

    • The Board of Supervisors’ blind eye to the Water Agency’s $115,000 payoff to that Planning Commissioner’s associate in 2011-2012, for a bogus study of Sonoma Clean Power

    • Sonoma County’s steadfast—and illegal—refusal to release economic analysis of Sonoma Clean Power that by contract is in the public domain

    • Sonoma County’s steadfast refusal to include Healdsburg/NCPA in its presentation of economic alternatives for local power when even by the Water Agency’s public admission, Healdsburg/NCPA ‘s rates are 10% to 20% lower than PG&E or projected rates for Sonoma Clean Power

    • Sonoma County’s reckless waste of $60 million of County funds in Sonoma County Energy Independence (“SCEIP”), Sonoma Clean Power’s failed pilot project

    • Sonoma County’s continuing $3 million dollar a year loss on SCEIP—a loss that will continue annually for 20 years

    Sonoma Clean Power is an opportunity to build a better future for the County. If it were not in the hands of County officials who’ve sold themselves to keep their jobs.

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  2. Steveguy says:

    Excuse me Sebastapolians, but Sonoma Greed Power will require SMART meters. Smart meters are part of the ‘plan’.

    You folks out there should read the ‘plan’ that is in store for you.

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  3. Elephant says:

    Sebastopol should vote against it. Because as bad as PG&E is, SCP is worse. The devil that you know versus the one that you don’t.

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  4. James Bennett says:

    Betcha I know how they’ll vote.

    ICLEI calls Sebastopol a ‘Transition Town’.

    If the country loving citizens knew what they were transitioning to…
    they’d sandal slap ‘em all at City Hall.

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