Sonoma Clean Power, the public electricity supplier, is moving to enroll all of the remaining customers in its jurisdiction by the end of this year, extending service to nearly 150,000 additional accounts on a much quicker time scale than the three-year rollout initially envisioned during the agency's development.
The more aggressive timeline would take in household and commercial accounts in the five participating cities — Santa Rosa, Windsor, Cotati, Sonoma and Sebastopol — plus the unincorporated areas of the county. The move reflects what officials say is a broadening interest among prospective customers in the power program and an optimistic outlook within the agency about expanding the scale of its launch.
The power authority began serving about 17,000 commercial accounts and 6,000 residential accounts in May, and community demand for the program has held strong since then, officials said.
“We were getting a large number of phone calls from people saying 'Why are you making me wait?'” said Geof Syphers, CEO of Sonoma Clean Power.
The public venture, billed as a competitively priced alternative to PG&E, is built on the assumption that customers — who can opt out — prefer a program designed to rely more heavily on renewable energy and shrink the county's carbon footprint. It aims to serve about 220,000 accounts, or about 80 percent of PG&E's electricity customers in the county, at full rollout.
Under a revised timeline developed in recent months, the remaining customers in the agency's jurisdiction were set to be enrolled this coming February, a change from the initial plan that stretched the rollout to the start of 2016. On Thursday, board members moved the step to this December while also giving their support for the inclusion of all customers from Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Cloverdale that would come into Sonoma Clean Power's jurisdiction if those three holdout cities decide to join.