The city of Stockton currently relies on PG&E for its electricity, but City Council members voted to change power distributors during a meeting in September.
East Bay Community Energy provides electricity to about two dozen cities and communities including Oakland, Livermore, and Tracy. Stockton will become the second largest city to join after City Council members unanimously passed a resolution to join the group.
The energy group operates a community choice aggregation program, which gives local governments who participate more control over energy rates and procurement, according to the U.S. EPA.
“We hope this inspires more municipalities, in California and beyond, to form or join local community-choice energy programs that bring the advantage of lower prices, greener energy, and more equitable energy access,” East Bay Community Energy CEO Nick Chaset said in a prepared statement.
City of Stockton Program Manager Grant Kirkpatrick told council members the move will lower utility bills, though not by a great amount.
“One percent may not sound like a lot, but in aggregate that would have saved Stockton residents and businesses $1.5 million last year in energy bills alone,” he said.
East Bay Community Energy officials plan to produce 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030, and Kirkpatrick says that’s where Stockton will benefit most.
“Having solar and battery storage ensures that more residents are able to maintain safe temperatures in their homes even when the electrical grid fails,” Kirkpatrick said.
Stockton resident Matt Holmes was one of several who spoke in favor of making the switch from PG&E at the city council meeting.
“This is a no-brainer,” Holmes said. “We’re keeping money that people are taking and they’re giving them to shareholders that don’t care about Stockton. They’ve been robbing us for decades. Let’s keep it.”
The city will make the switch in 2024.
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