New power company SVCE to compete with PG&E in South Bay

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There are a lot of questions in the South Bay over a new power company that is competing with PG&E for business.

Many people who live in the South Bay are receiving post cards that say, "Welcome, you have a new electricity provider." But many of them are not sure what it means.

People in Santa Clara County are being automatically enrolled to receive carbon free energy.

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Bill Williams relies on the fans in his Sunnyvale home since he doesn't have air conditioning. He was surprised to get the postcard in the mail saying he would no longer get power from PG&E.

"I wasn't sure what it was, to be honest with you. We've had PG&E for a long time," he said.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is the new power supplier for 11 South Bay cities and unincorporated Santa Clara County.

Residents are automatically enrolled and receive 100 percent carbon free energy powered by wind, water and the sun.

"We were formed by the local agencies to buy cleaner power at cheaper rates," explained Pamela Leonard, a spokesperson for Silicon Valley Clean Energy.

The service rolled out in April for 20 percent of customers. The remaining 80 percent will come online in July.

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Customers will still experience potential outages on PG&E's grid since the utility delivers the power and maintains the lines.

"So in this heat wave, if the power goes out, you would still report that to PG&E and not to us because what we're doing is on the back end is supplying clean energy to all the businesses and residences in our service area," said Leonard.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy customers will save money using its electricity. That's an important factor for those who watch their bills.

"It just gradually creeps up 5 to 10 percent each year," said Williams.

The average monthly rate using the basic service called Green Start is cheaper than PG&E and it uses 50 percent renewable energy.

However, if you want 100 percent renewable energy, which is called Green Prime, it's more expensive.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy customers can always opt out and return to PG&E if they choose.

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