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City councils to hear plans for public power agency in Sonoma County

Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:20 p.m.

Sonoma County officials have announced a schedule of presentations to local city councils over the next two months on the county's plans for a public power agency.

The presentations are geared toward convincing cities to join the program in its initial rollout, set to begin in January.

The power proposal is aimed to provide electricity customers an alternative to Pacific Gas and Electric, the region's dominant utility. It proposes to offer a higher share of power from renewable sources, including wind, solar and geothermal, and allow profit from customer bills to be reinvested to build and finance local renewable energy projects.

The schedule of county presentations to cities is:

- Sebastopol, May 7

- Cloverdale, May 8

- Rohnert Park, May 14

- Windsor, May 15

- Petaluma, May 20

- Santa Rosa, May 21

- Sonoma, June 3

Cotati officials said they are in the process of scheduling a presentation either in late May or early June.

Healdsburg is not part of the mix because it has its own municipal utility.

The Board of Supervisors last week voted to move forward with the program for residents and businesses outside city limits. The move came just a week after county officials unveiled potential rates for customers. Selection of a wholesale power supplier and several other county and state steps are months off.

The county has set a June 30 deadline for the city decisions. An approval would automatically enroll residents and businesses in the program, with several chances to opt out without a fee.

PG&E would continue to handle transmission, billing, metering, customer service and grid repair.

Several city officials said they anticipate any final deliberation and vote on the issue would not come until after the county presentation and a second public city council meeting.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.

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