Kim Girdler Honored at Douglas PUD
Douglas County PUD Commissioners Ronald E Skagen, Molly Simpson, and Aaron J. Viebrock awarded Customer Accounting Supervisor Kim Girdler with her 25-year service award during the August 14 Commission meeting held at the District’s East Wenatchee, Wash., office. Commissioner Skagen thanked Girdler on behalf of the citizens of Douglas County for her years of service.
“I’m truly blessed,” she said. “I have enjoyed every step along the way. I have a great staff to work with.”
SVP Recognized as Top 10 National Green Power Leader by DOE
Silicon Valley Power’s (Santa Clara, Calif.) green power program, Santa Clara Green Power, has once again been honored as one of the Top 10 utility green power programs in the nation by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. This is the 11th year that SVP’s Santa Clara Green Power program has made the esteemed Top 10 list and the second year in a row it has ranked in the top 10 in three out of four green power categories – percentage of customer participation, green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales, and total green power sales.
“Recognition as an industry leader by NREL for the 11th year in a row is quite an acknowledgement of SVP and our program,” said Larry Owens, senior division manager of Customer Services at SVP. “We are committed to offering a high-quality, 100-percent renewable energy choice for our customers, but the program would not be where it is today without customers themselves stepping up to a greener pathway forward for their home or business.”
SVP placed fourth in the category “green power participation rate” – with 8.13 percent of customers participating in Santa Clara Green Power in 2016. SVP has been recognized year after year for its high percentage of SVP customers who choose to cover their home’s or business’s electricity use with renewable energy.
The Santa Clara-based utility was also honored with a third-place ranking for green power sales as a percentage of total electricity sales. In 2016, 6.03 percent of total utility megawatt-hour sales came from Santa Clara Green Power, reflecting a relatively high demand for renewable energy in the Santa Clara community.
SVP also earned top 10 recognition as the ninth highest-ranked national utility for total green power sales – selling 206,692 MWh of green power in 2016. “This was a true community effort. A number of our large commercial customers, including the City of Santa Clara itself, joined hundreds of small businesses and thousands of Santa Clara residents in purchasing up to 100-percent renewable energy through Santa Clara Green Power,” said Owens.
Silicon Valley Power manages the Santa Clara Green Power program in partnership with 3Degrees, the eight-time winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Green Power Supplier of the Year Award. Learn more about Santa Clara Green Power by visiting siliconvalleypower.com/green.
Tacoma Power Offering $50,000 Grants for Renewable Energy Projects
Nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in investing in renewable energy projects could get a financial boost this year from Tacoma Power’s (Wash.) Evergreen Options program.
Tacoma Power is now accepting applications for a grant of up to $50,000 to build on-site renewable energy projects – like solar, wind, and geothermal. Nonprofits, schools, government agencies, and organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation who participate in Evergreen Options can apply.
Evergreen Options, a voluntary program, enables customers to support local renewable energy by paying an additional monthly charge on their electric bill. Participants can choose a specific amount (minimum $3 per month) or a percentage of their electric use, up to 100 percent.
“For a long time, Evergreen Options has supported the development of renewable resources in the region; now it will also support the development of renewable resources in our community,” said Tacoma Power Superintendent Chris Robinson.
Tacoma Power will award one grant in 2017, and intends to award two grants next year.
Visit MyTPU.org/Evergreen for more information about the Evergreen Options grant program.
Benton PUD Invites Customers to Plug Into Your Future Meetings
Benton PUD (Kennewick, Wash.) has scheduled three informational meetings to encourage customers to Plug Into Your Future with Benton PUD and learn more about the utility’s challenges and opportunities.
“Like other utilities across the region, our utility world is changing. As a customer-owned public utility, our customers’ input is important to us as we identify how to respond to the challenges and opportunities we face. Challenges include the rising cost of power; integrating wind and solar into our electric system; threats to our low-cost, carbon free hydropower; broadband opportunities; the growing interest in electric vehicles; and others,” said Chad Bartram, Benton PUD general manager.
Customers are invited to learn more about Benton PUD and provide input at the following meetings: The Changing Utility (August 30); Benton PUD Broadband: Connecting our community (September 20); and Emerging Technologies: The next era of electricity use (September 27).
The meetings will take place in the Benton PUD Auditorium located at the Kennewick facility at 2721 W. 10th Avenue.
SMUD and GridX to Roll Out the Industry’s First Bill Scenario Analysis Tool
SMUD (Sacramento, Calif.) and GridX, Inc. will partner to roll out a new bill scenario analysis tool that will allow SMUD’s customer service representatives to help customers learn more about how the transition to time-of-day rates will impact their bills.
Under a traditional tiered rate system, bills are calculated based on the volume of energy customers use. Under time-of-day rates, when customers use energy will be just as important as how much they use.
After SMUD transitions all of its customers to time-of-day plans by the end of 2019, about 44 percent of customers will pay less over the course of a year than they do under the current system, even if they make no changes to their energy use. About 49 percent of customers will pay about $2 more per month on average under the new plan, and about 8 percent will pay about $6.80 more per month. If these customers make adjustments to when they use energy, they may be able to reduce their bills and save money on a time-of-day plan.
The new bill scenario analysis tool will allow a SMUD CSR to accurately calculate a specific customer’s bills on a new rate. It will also allow the CSR to discuss various energy use scenarios with the customer and calculate how their bills will be impacted by shifting energy use to different time periods, adding or removing programs, deploying rooftop solar, adding an electric vehicle, or possibly switching to SMUD’s fixed rate option. The bill scenarios are personalized to each customer and calculated in real time while customers are on the phone.
“As we transition our customers to time-of-day rates, we want to help them learn as much as possible about how their bill may be impacted and what they can do to control their energy costs,” said Nicole Howard, SMUD’s chief customer officer. “By working with GridX, we’ll be able to roll out an accurate, responsive tool that will allow us to provide specific numbers to our customers so they can make informed choices.”
CRPUD Board Adopts New Rates
At their August 15 meeting, the Columbia River PUD (Deer Island, Ore.) Board of Directors adopted new rates. These rates will take effect for all bills rendered after October 1, 2017.
The new rates represent a system-wide rate increase of 5.1 percent. Residential, small general service, and irrigation classes will see a 5.5-percent overall increase. Large general service and industrial classes will see a 4.6- percent overall increase.
Under the new rates, the monthly residential customer charge will increase from $10 to $12.50. The energy charge will increase from 6.8¢ to 7.04¢. The amount a customer’s bill will increase depends on the customer’s monthly usage.
The new residential rates are about 23 percent lower than the statewide average. They are about 35 percent lower than the national average.
The PUD will continue to offer discounts for customers who meet income qualifications. Customers on the Special Waiver program will pay a monthly customer charge of $2.50, instead of $12.50. Customers on the Senior Discount program will pay a $2.50 customer charge and receive a 10-percent discount on their energy charge.
“I don’t like to have rate increases. I don’t like to see them on my bill either. I think we came up with the best option, taking into account our seniors and our low-income customers,” said Board Member Debbie Reed.
Read the full release here.