Butte County and the City of Chico have partnered to form Butte Choice Energy, a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program that will begin providing cleaner, affordable electricity in the Fall of 2023. CCA is a local energy model that allows cities and counties to purchase and/or generate electricity for their residents and businesses.
BCE Board of Directors
Debra Lucero, Butte County Board of Supervisors
Chico City Council
Board Vice Chair
Oroville City Council
Doug Teeter, Butte County Board of Supervisors
Chico City Council
Oroville City Council
BCE Interim Co-Executive Officers
Asst. Chief Administrative Officer County of Butte
Director of Public Works
City of Chico
BCE Structure and Governance
On November 5, 2019 the County of Butte and the City of Chico adopted an ordinance and resolution to form Butte Choice Energy, a California joint powers agency. BCE’s Board is comprised of two elected representatives from each member jurisdictions which may expand as new communities in Butte County decide whether to join BCE in the future. The Board is publicly accountable to BCE ratepayers and hosts monthly Board meetings to establish policy, set rates, determine power options and maintain fiscal oversight. As a public agency, BCE is designed to be fully transparent with all meetings and information open to the public. Until permanent staff is hired closer to the launch date, BCE will be managed by interim staff from the County and City of Chico along with expert consultants with long-time experience in CCA formation and operations.
Partnership with PG&E
As a Community Choice Aggregator, BCE will purchase power on behalf of its customers and PG&E will continue to deliver the electricity through its existing power lines. PG&E will continue to provide meter reading, billing, and line maintenance service to customers. Residents will receive a single bill from PG&E that shows two line items – BCE’s generation charge (which replaces PG&E’s generation charges) and the PG&E transmission charge. The BCE component reflects the cost of the electricity used and PG&E transmission component are the fees/costs associated with delivering your power. If you utilize natural gas, you’ll continue to receive that service from PG&E.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Butte County and the City of Chico implementing a CCA?
To date, CCAs throughout California have offered communities lower energy rates, cleaner power and other energy-related community benefits. Butte County initiated a feasibility study in 2018 to see if residents and businesses could experience the same benefits by pursuing a CCA in our area. The study showed that a CCA could provide customers an initial 2 percent savings ($4 million in regional savings) while concurrently increasing the percentage of green power placed on the grid on behalf of local customers.
Which areas of Butte County are participating?
The unincorporated County and City of Chico are the two founding members of Butte Choice Energy, a California Joint Powers Agency formed on November 5, 2019. Other Butte County cities and towns will be invited to join in the future.
What is the current status?
Agency formation will continue through 2021 in preparation for program launch and customer enrollments beginning in the Fall of 2023.
Will businesses and residents have to participate in BCE?
No. Butte Choice Energy will automatically enroll all eligible electric customers for service starting in the Fall of 2023. However, each customer will receive four notices describing the program and relaying how they can opt-out and remain with PG&E bundled service if they so choose. Customers always have the choice to remain with BCE or switch back to PG&E electric generation service at any time.
I use solar at my home/business, will BCE buy any excess power back?
BCE’s governing board will determine policies and rates for net metered customers, but it is likely that BCE will offer the same or better buy-back options as PG&E.
Will BCE provide the same types of programs that PG&E offers?
BCE’s staff and Board will develop local energy programs over time based on local needs and customer demand. Customers will continue to have access to PGE’s energy programs as well.
Can you guarantee that BCE will offer lower rates?
In mid 2023, the BCE Board will set rates with the goal of offering a customer discount of 2% or above. While BCE cannot guarantee that rates will always be lower, it is the intention of the Board to be rate sensitive and to keep its customers happy by offering competitive rates. One of the main benefits of BCE will be the ability to make decisions that work best for local customers.
Will I know what BCE’s rates are in time to opt out and stay with PG&E?
Yes, rate information will be public, as will BCE’s Board meetings and decision-making process.
Can I opt out in order to stay with PG&E, and join BCE later?
Yes, customers may opt out up to 60 days prior to program launch and anytime thereafter. If a customer opts-out after the BCE enrollment period (which ends 60 days post enrollment), PG&E requires that customers stay on their bundled service for 12 months before they can return to BCE service.
How will BCE be staffed? Is it run by the City or County?
Until BCE hires a chief executive, BCE formation will be managed by interim co-executives from the City of Chico and Butte County. BCE has also hired technical experts to support the start-up process and it is likely that BCE will launch with a small staff of 5-6 people and be supported as needed by outside venders with specific expertise.
How can I give feedback or be involved?
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