City Government, Sustainability

Hayward moving to carbon-free electricity

March 13, 2018

Hayward solar array

Hayward took a big step toward meeting some of the country’s most ambitious municipal climate-protection goals with a City Council vote earlier this month to move to entirely carbon-free electricity.

The Council vote on May 6 established the “default product” for when electricity customers in Hayward are shifted off Pacific Gas and Electric Company-supplied electricity as part of the formation of nonprofit East Bay Community Energy (EBCE).

Formed by the County of Alameda, Hayward and 10 other Alameda County cities, EBCE is the latest of a handful of agencies set up by local governments in the Bay Area and across California to takeover electricity procurement from PG&E and other monopoly utilities. The goal is to provide a cleaner, greener, more affordable choice of electricity than offered by the incumbent utilities, which tend to be more reliant on natural gas, other carbon-based fuels and nuclear power plants.

Under state law providing for creation of local energy aggregation networks like EBCE, PG&E will remain responsible for transmitting all electricity, maintaining distribution infrastructure, and billing services for all Hayward customers. The migration of customers to EBCE starts in June with commercial accounts. Residential customers will begin being enrolled in January 2019

Initially, EBCE is offering two products. Brilliant 100, the one selected as the default option for Hayward, is 100 percent carbon free, drawing from a combination of solar, wind and other renewable sources and large-scale hydrogenation. It will be priced equal PG&E supply. The alternative EBCE product, Bright Choice, will be a minimum 85 percent carbon-free. It will be priced 1.5 percent below PG&E electricity. Prior to enrollment, customers can opt out of EBCE and remain on PG&E or opt down to EBCE’s slight less expensive and less green, Bright Choice.