Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 42

n ENERGY A Primer on the Changing Electricity Market There are two main parts to getting electricity to businesses and consumers: procurement (buying the rights to electricity from a given power source) and transmission (delivering it through the wires and poles). While transmission remains in the hands of regulated utilities, procurement has fractured into multiple competing producers in the last decade or so. Here are the major pro- curement players in California’s market. • INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES (IOUS): Private companies like PG&E, respon- sible to shareholders, that both buy electricity and build and maintain the in- frastructure to deliver it. • MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITIES (MOUS): Publicly owned organizations like SMUD that buy electricity and build and maintain the infrastructure to deliver it. • COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATORS (CCAS): Publicly owned organizations like Valley Clean Energy and Pioneer that buy electricity that’s distributed through a transmission system maintained by a utility. • ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS (ESPS): Usually privately owned companies, sometimes headquartered out of state, that buy electricity that’s distributed through a transmission system maintained by a utility. • RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES: Local nonprofit cooperatives that pur- chase and deliver electricity, including building and maintaining the infrastruc- ture to deliver it. There are few in California. have needed to buy PG&E’s poles and wires in Yolo County, paying back the cost over time. But PG&E had no plans to go quietly. It got mirror propos- als put on the ballot in Sacramento and Placer counties’ SMUD territory, putting the decision to voters. And it launched an $11 million publicity blitz (with which SMUD, a public entity, could not compete) to convince them that the deal could raise their rates dramatically. That turned public sentiment. Sac- ramento and Placer’s voters turned down the expansion by a wide mar- gin, and even Yolo’s broke for and against the referendums in almost equal numbers. But the proponents promised they wouldn’t abandon efforts in these communities to take control of their own power choices. Just over a decade later, Pioneer and VCE are aimed to make good on that promise. Planning a Meal? casual, fancy, drop off or full service we make it happen... We love to FEED You very well seasonal, local and ecofriendly emphasis specialty menus or diets welcome email us for attractive business pricing chefbethcatering.com 866-441-beth (2384) 42 comstocksmag.com | November 2018