Friday, February 5, 2016

Alternative Electricity Companies Look to Silicon Valley

As the world and the people that live in it have become more and more concerned with sustainability, energy suppliers' distributions have become an issue of importance. Many communities have already deregulated energy markets, and now one of the country's leading, innovative communities is doing the same. 

Silicon Valley has long been known as the intellectual hub when it comes to technology in the United States and now the city of Los Altos, California looks like they'll try their luck with alternative electricity companies. According to the Los Altos Town Crier, the Los Altos City Council will make their final recommendation January 26 on whether or not the Silicon Valley Community Choice Energy (CCE) Partnership will be allowed to work with the local PGandE electricity company already in place to deliver more renewable and potentially cheaper electricity. 

"It's given us a choice," said Los Altos Environmental Commission Chairman Gary Hedden, speaking on his own behalf. "To me, that’s the big attraction." 

The cost of generating and delivering electricity has decreased considerably in recent years thanks to technological advancements. For example, in 1995 the average delivered cost of electricity for investor-owned utilities was 7.1 cents per kilowatt hour and generation accounted for about two-thirds of the price. Today, generation only accounts for less than half the price, according to the Edison Electric Institute. 

For a community that's known for living on the cusp of modernization, they were hesitant to make the move from the norm. They first considered the move way back in April, and now things are finally moving after about a year. While no solid numbers on just how much consumers can expect to save on their bill are available yet, energy industry deregulation generally means more competition, better services, and ultimately better prices. 

Under the proposed partnership, CCE will actually work with PGandE. PGandE will maintain the grid and distribute the services, while CCE procures energy from alternative electricity suppliers. This strategy makes sense to at least one former member of the California Energy Commission and current resident of the area. 

"Utilities' business is to sell energy – not get customers to save energy," said Jeff Byron. "I'm keen on renewables, but the stuff I’m more interested in seeing is consumers being more efficient in their usage." 

Alternative electricity companies are a great solution to many of the problems local communities face and more officials would be wise to investigate services like Starion Energy for renewable, affordable, and reliable alternative electricity companies.

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