We’ve compiled a list of questions that customers often ask.
General | Enrollment & Opt-Out | Rates & Billing | Commercial, Agricultural & Industrial Customers | Solar & NEM Customers | Governance | SMUD Agreement | PG&E Bankruptcy Filing
What is Valley Clean Energy?
Valley Clean Energy (also known as VCE) is the official, locally governed electricity provider for the cities of Woodland, Davis, Winters (beginning in 2021) and unincorporated Yolo County. VCE began serving residential and commercial customers in June 2018. VCE is governed locally by a board of directors made up of elected officials from our member agencies. VCE is not-for-profit, locally governed, and provides electricity at competitive rates compared to PG&E with a higher renewable energy content.
How does it work?
Valley Clean Energy purchases electricity with higher renewable and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) content than is offered by PG&E. Other than receiving cleaner electricity at competitive prices, all other aspects of your electricity service remain the same. PG&E continues to deliver the electricity through its distribution system to your home or business, maintains the power lines, reads your meter, and sends you a single, consolidated bill, as required by state law. If you want to stay with PG&E for your electricity, you can opt-out of Valley Clean Energy.
Is VCE more expensive than PG&E?
No. Our prices are competitive with PG&E’s, even when exit fees and other mandatory charges are added. Check out our Rates here.
Click here to see a sample bill
, with VCE’s charges clearly shown.
What is the difference between an Investor Owned Utility (IOU) such as PG&E and Public Owned Utility (POU) such as VCE?
A publicly owned utility manages its own decisions regarding pricing and programs, and uses revenues to benefit its members, rather than paying profits to shareholders. There are many other significant differences, which are summarized in this table developed by The California Energy Commission. For more information, please visit The California Energy Commission.
Does VCE replace PG&E?
No. VCE buys cleaner electricity for our customers; PG&E delivers the electricity to your home or business. PG&E also continues to handle the billing, turn on and off power when you move, maintain the power lines, and resolve power outages.
Why was I automatically transferred to VCE?
California law authorizes cities and counties to form community choice aggregation programs like VCE. The law defines such programs as opt-out systems. That is, customers are automatically enrolled after receiving several notices. Customers who choose to do so may opt-out of VCE and return to PG&E.
Do other Community Choice Aggregation agencies like VCE exist in California?
Thanks to California law that authorizes cities and counties to form community choice aggregation (or CCA) programs, cities and counties throughout California are moving forward with similar programs. As of January 2020, 19 CCAs are operating in California. That number is expected to increase in 2020, with CCAs serving a combined population of about 18 million customers. Click here to see a map of California’s CCAs provided by the Clean Power Exchange
What community reinvestment is VCE involved in?
CCAs have invested hundreds of millions of dollars through the purchase of over 3000 Megawatts of new renewable resources in California. In addition, CCAs invest in their local economies through programs, dividends, construction of local renewable energy projects, installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and support for local programs and events. VCE is no exception. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) board of directors approved a $2.9 million grant to Valley Clean Energy (VCE) that will lay the foundation for increased electric vehicle charging opportunities and multi-modal transportation hubs in Yolo County over a maximum of 4 years. The City of Davis, Yolo County and the City of Woodland joined forces with VCE to submit a joint application for grant funds. Valley Clean Energy is committed to reducing emissions by increasing electrification in the transportation sector. Increasing availability of public electric vehicle charging in Yolo County is just one-way VCE is investing in our community.
How can I Opt Up to 100% carbon free and renewable energy?
Opting Up is easy and virtually seamless. Just have your 10-digit PG&E account number handy and click here to Opt Up today!
Where does VCE buy clean electricity?
In February 2020, VCE announced that they will be purchasing 50 megawatts of renewable power from a new solar park located in Kings County, CA. The power from the park will replace current short-term power contracts, allowing VCE to deliver higher levels of renewable power at competitive prices. The 15-year contract with Aquamarine Westside, LLC, CIM Group’s solar project, will commence when the project enters commercial operation, anticipated in 2021. The project is a 21,000-acre, master-planned clean energy park with over 2 GW of solar production potential.
Most of VCE’s electricity is produced from clean energy sources such as hydro, solar and wind. The current power portfolio was approved by the VCE Board of Directors in early 2018. Our intent is to purchase as much electricity as possible from clean energy sources located in California at prices that remain competitive with PG&E. Check out our Power Sources here.
Isn’t renewable electricity more expensive than electricity from traditional sources?
Not anymore. Over the last 30 years the cost of fossil fuels has been rising, while the cost of renewable sources has dropped dramatically. In California, renewable energy from wind and solar sources is often cheaper than fossil fuel.
Will PG&E lose jobs as result of VCE?
No. The vast majority of PG&E employees provide transmission and distribution system maintenance and upgrades for electricity lines, billing and customer service—all of which PG&E will continue to provide. There have been no noticeable job losses in communities that have a CCA programs like VCE. In fact, new jobs have been created constructing and operating new energy generation facilities and staffing CCA offices.
Enrollment & Opt-Out
When and where is VCE service available?
VCE has been available to PG&E customers in Woodland, Davis, and unincorporated Yolo County since June 2018. VCE will welcome the City of Winters in January of 2021.
Am I enrolled in VCE?
VCE replaces PG&E as the default electricity provider in Woodland, Davis, Winters (effective January 2021) and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. That means anyone with a PG&E electric account in these areas is automatically enrolled in VCE, except for solar customers that installed systems prior to June 2018. These customers are enrolling in VCE throughout 2020. If you are enrolled in VCE, Valley Clean Energy will appear as a line item on your PG&E bill.
Why am I automatically enrolled in VCE?
When California enacted the law in 2002 that authorizes cities and counties to form Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs like VCE, it was designed as an opt-out system – that is, customers are to be automatically enrolled in the CCA program but can opt out if they wish. Prior to the existence of CCAs, customers did not have a choice about their electricity provider. Now, customers have a choice. Customers receive a minimum of four notices about their switch to VCE to help them understand the service or provide direction to opt out.
How do I opt out of VCE?
By law, customers may opt out of VCE at any time. To opt out, you can use our online form
here to opt out
or call VCE’s customer service line at 855-699-VCEA (8232).
Can I return to VCE if I opt out?
Yes. Customers who opt out within the first 60 days of VCE service may return to VCE at any time. However, customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with VCE must wait one year before returning to VCE service, as required by state law.
Rates & Billing
What are VCE's rates?
You can check out Valley Clean Energy’s residential rates here.
Commercial rates can be found by visiting the commercial rates page.
For agricultural rates, please visit VCE’s agricultural rates page.
How does VCE set its rates?
VCE electricity rates are set through a transparent public process. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in publicly noticed monthly meetings of VCE’s board of directors for each step of the process. Currently, VCE matches PG&E’s rates, resulting in no extra cost to its customers.
How can VCE offer competitive rates?
Community Choice Aggregator programs like VCE are powerful precisely because they support clean energy market competition. VCE buys electricity through a bidding process that encourages private energy companies to compete to provide clean, renewable power. Without shareholders, there are no dividends to pay, so even with the added exit fees charged by PG&E, VCE’s rates remain competitive.
Will I still receive my CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline discounts with VCE?
Yes. If you receive a low-income or medical discount on your electricity bill through PG&E’s CARE, FERA or Medical Baseline Allowance programs, that discount will continue to apply as a VCE customer.
Will I still receive EV rates for my electric vehicle with VCE?
Yes, VCE provides the same rates you paid PG&E.
Do I get billed separately by VCE?
No, you will continue to receive one monthly bill from PG&E. The general look, appearance and setup of your bill will not change, but you’ll notice one additional page that details VCE electricity generation charges. These replace PG&E electricity charges.
There are two main components to your electricity service: Delivery and Generation. Your PG&E bill will show “Current PG&E Electric Delivery Charges” and “Valley Clean Energy Alliance Electric Generation Charges” in the Account Summary section on the first page of your bill. Please see our sample bill to see an example of what this will look like when you start receiving VCE service.
What is the PCIA?
PCIA refers to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, sometimes called an “exit fee.” The PCIA is intended to ensure that customers who switch to Valley Clean Energy pay for energy that was acquired by PG&E through long-term contracts to serve its customers. It will appear on your bill as a separate line item. What’s most important to know is that VCE’s rates—even with the PCIA charge included—are still competitive with PG&E’s rates.
What is UltraGreen?
UltraGreen is our premium service—it’s both 100% renewable and 100% carbon-free.
Generated from completely renewable sources including solar and wind, UltraGreen gives you the option to buy completely clean, carbon-free electricity that makes a big difference to our environment. That means healthier air, healthier families, and a healthy step towards a clean climate!
UltraGreen costs 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour more than our standard service, so your additional cost will typically be in the $3 to $10 per month range (residential), depending on how much electricity you use in your home or business. Click here to Opt Up today!
How does VCE’s Customer Dividend Program Work?
When VCE does well, we’re all rewarded. The VCE Customer Dividend Program is designed to reward our customers by sharing the benefits of our positive financial performance with them. It is just one of the ways VCE gives back to the communities we serve.
Here’s how the program works:
• The dividend will be based on VCE’s fiscal year net revenues, after specific financial targets have been met.
• The VCE board will determine the percentage of cash reserves to be allocated to dividends, to ensure both optimal program health and customer benefit.
• When the board approves dividends, residential customers will receive the dividend as a credit on their October bills.
• Non-residential customer dividends will be paid twice per year, once in April and once in October
• Customers don’t need to do a thing to qualify—all VCE customers are automatically enrolled in our Dividend Program.
The Customer Dividend Program helps VCE meet its short-term and longer-term goals of financial stability, cost competitive clean electricity, reinvestment in local programs, and a cleaner environment.
Can PG&E raise delivery fees on VCE customers above those of non-VCE customers?
No. PG&E must provide the same delivery rates for all customers in their service area whether or not they receive electricity from PG&E or a CCA such as VCE.
Commercial, Agricultural & Industrial Customers
What if I have multiple business or agricultural accounts?
Owners of multiple accounts can choose to opt up or opt out of their accounts on an individual basis. Enrollment is by individual account, so you will be able to see all your accounts and decide what is best for each one.
What if I have existing direct access arrangements or special PG&E rates?
Any existing direct access arrangements or special PG&E rates will not be automatically enrolled in VCE service. However, those customers can choose to become VCE customers. Special direct access termination provisions may apply. To better understand your options, feel free to give us a call to talk about your individual situation.
Solar & NEM Customers
Learn More on our Solar Customer page.
When will I become a VCE customer?
If you installed solar panels at your home or business prior to VCE’s launch in June 2018, you have continued as a PG&E Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer. However, beginning in January 2020, PG&E NEM customers are automatically being enrolled in VCE service during their True-Up month.
If you installed solar panels at your home or business after VCE’s launch (June 2018) you were already enrolled as a VCE customer and will continue to be a VCE solar NEM customer, unless you opted out.
What is my PG&E solar NEM True-Up date?
The “True-Up” date or month is generally the date when your solar system became active. At the end of a 12-month period, PG&E sends you a “True-Up” bill. Your statement from PG&E provides a reconciliation of all the cumulative energy charges, credits, and compensation for an entire 12-month billing cycle. This bill will show what is due PG&E or what PG&E may owe you to reconcile the difference between the energy generated and the energy used on an annual basis
Do I have to wait to enroll in VCE if I am a PG&E solar NEM customer?
No. You do not have to wait to enroll in VCE. If you’d like to enroll in VCE service prior to your annual True-Up date, you may opt in to VCE service. It is important that you know PG&E will true-up your account prior to your enrollment in VCE, which means that any credits you have will be paid by PG&E at the wholesale level (slightly less than VCE’s rate). Your true-up date will then be reset to coincide with the start of your VCE service. You will be billed monthly for VCE’s generation charges from the transition date unless you request to be billed annually. Before deciding to voluntarily opt in to VCE service, be sure to review your PG&E bill to ensure you won’t lose credits.
If you have any questions regarding your True-Up date, please call VCE’s customer service line Monday to Friday from 7am to 7 pm at (855) 699-8232.
When is my True-Up date?
Check your PG&E bill to find your annual True-Up Energy Statement.
What are solar credits?
Your home’s solar or renewable energy system is designed to supply some or all of your energy needs. When additional energy is needed, it is automatically provided by your generation company, either VCE or PG&E. When your system creates more energy than your home or business can use, surplus energy is returned to the grid.
When your account is trued-up once each year, you will either owe money for the electricity you have used beyond what your solar system generated, or you will get a credit for excess generation from your system. While solar credits will be paid out to you at wholesale rates, it is important to note that VCE pays the wholesale rate plus $0.01 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for excess generation. That’s more than PG&E pays for excess generation.
NEM customers with less than $100 in VCE wholesale credits will have the credit balance roll over to the next billing cycle. NEM customers with a wholesale credit balance exceeding $100 on their annual true-up date will be paid for their excess generation, unless they choose to roll over the balance or donate the funds.
What if I installed solar after June 2018?
If you installed solar panels at your home or business after VCE’s June 2018 launch (and didn’t opt out), you were automatically enrolled in our Net Energy Metering program and were placed on a monthly billing cycle for your generation charges. Your PG&E Delivery charges will be billed annually.
Will my billing change?
You will continue to receive your bills from PG&E, with detail from VCE included.
Residential and Business NEM customers with solar systems installed prior to June 2018 will be placed on their existing PG&E billing cycle, either annual or monthly.
Residential customers adding solar systems beginning June 1, 2018 will be placed on monthly billing with an annual true-up date in February.
Non-residential customers adding solar systems beginning June 1, 2018 will be placed on a monthly billing cycle with an annual true-up in February for their VCE charges, unless they ask for an annual billing cycle.
NEM customers on monthly billing cycles may choose to adopt an annual billing cycle. The best time to make this request is just prior to your PG&E true up month.
Are there benefits to being a VCE NEM customer?
VCE Solar NEM customers that generate excess energy will receive a 1 cent per kWh credit on a monthly basis. At their annual true-up, excess generators will receive the wholesale value of the excess generation plus 1 cent per kWh. That’s a better deal than what PG&E offers.
What is Valley Clean Energy (VCE)?
State law allows cities and counties to aggregate the electricity demand of their residents and businesses for the purpose of buying electricity on behalf of those customers. These programs are called Community Choice Aggregation programs, or CCAs.
VCE is a joint powers authority formed in 2016. It is a locally controlled, not-for-profit public agency covering the unincorporated areas of Yolo County and the Cities of Woodland, Davis and Winters (beginning in January 2021). VCE buys electricity on behalf of its residents and businesses from clean, renewable sources—such as solar and wind—at competitive rates compared with PG&E.
When customers choose VCE, they help empower local control of electricity procurement decisions, reduce the carbon footprint associated with their electricity service, and help support growth of local renewables. Rather than paying profits to shareholders, VCE’s net revenue (after buying power and administrative expenses), can be used to help stabilize electricity prices, provide larger incentives for more solar installations, support energy efficiency programs, develop more local renewable energy sources in and near Yolo County, and invest in innovative clean technologies and energy-related job training—all while keeping electricity rates competitive with investor-owned utilities.
How is VCE governed?
VCE is governed by a board of directors consisting of representatives from the city councils of Davis, Woodland and Winters, and the board of supervisors of Yolo County. The VCE board of directors generally meets monthly and the meetings are open to the public. Residents and business members are free to attend the meetings and address the board. The VCE board follows all of California’s open meeting laws. To receive information about upcoming board meetings, click Board meetings.
The VCE board is assisted by the VCE Community Advisory Committee (CAC), which includes representatives from each of VCE’s member agencies. The CAC meetings are open to the public and its agendas posted on the VCE website. To receive information about upcoming CAC meetings, click CAC meetings.
How would the program be regulated?
As discussed elsewhere, VCE is regulated by its Board of Directors. In addition, as required by state law, VCE submitted its Implementation Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).The plan discusses rate design, how we will buy electricity, and how we will carry out all the functions the CPUC requires. Before launch, VCE negotiated the purchase price of electricity on the open market and adheres to all CPUC rules and tariffs that apply to Community Choice Aggregation programs.
What is VCE’s agreement with SMUD?
At its August 31, 2017 meeting, the VCE Board voted unanimously to contract with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to provide technical and energy services, data management/call center services, wholesale energy services, credit support services, and up to five years of CCA business operations support. This business relationship between VCE and SMUD put VCE on track to launch in June of 2018. VCE continues to contract with SMUD to provide essential administrative services to help VCE.
What is SMUD?
SMUD is the sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider in the nation. SMUD serves approximately 635,000 customers and a population of about 1.5 million people with a 2,000-plus strong workforce and an annual budget of about $1.7 billion. SMUD’s service territory is adjacent to Yolo County covering approximately 900 square miles and includes most of Sacramento County, as well as small adjoining portions of Placer County.
Why did SMUD want to work with VCE?
SMUD offered its services to VCE to help a neighboring organization that has closely aligned values, including local decision making, product choice, affordable rates, greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and a not-for-profit, public power business model. SMUD has been doing the kind of work VCE requires for over 70 years. It has the operational and technical expertise to offer VCE flexible, efficient solutions that helped it hit the ground running and will support long term success.
Is this an annexation of VCE into SMUD?
No. VCE’s relationship with SMUD is a business relationship; VCE is contracting for services that SMUD provides.
How is SMUD managed?
SMUD is governed by a 7-member, publicly elected Board of Directors.
What makes SMUD different than other utility providers?
SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for healthier communities. In J.D. Power surveys SMUD has been ranked number one in overall residential customer satisfaction in California for 15 consecutive years and number one in overall commercial customer satisfaction in California for 11 of the last 12 years.
PG&E Bankruptcy Filing
What is PG&E’s role when it comes to VCE (and other CCAs in California)?
VCE buys electricity to meet the needs of its customers. PG&E is responsible for delivering the electricity to VCE customers, as well as for billing and maintenance services. VCE customers receive a consolidated bill issued by PG&E that includes charges from both parties; PG&E collects and forwards VCE’s portion of revenues. PG&E is legally required to continue as the billing agent for VCE.
What happens now that PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection?
This is not the first time this has happened. When PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, the utility continued operations and customer electricity service was not affected. As PG&E seeks bankruptcy protection again, the utility has continued operations and has kept the lights on.
Has PG&E’s current situation resulted in any impacts to VCE?
No. VCE continues to serve customers with electricity supply as usual and continues to work with PG&E staff to ensure reliable and continuous service.
Will there be additional fees added to rates to pay for the wildfires?
The need for additional fees to pay for PG&E’s wildfire liabilities is determined by the California Public Utilities Commission, and/or the California Legislature and bankruptcy court.
Does VCE support a state or local takeover of PG&E?
VCE submitted a non-binding bid to purchase PG&E assets in Yolo County. If the bid had been accepted, a new municipal utility would have been the result. The utility would have acted similarly to SMUD or other public utilities that provide full electricity services to their customers. However, PG&E rejected the bid, and while VCE is not currently pursuing another bid, it may in the future.
If your question isn’t included, please contact us. We’ll be happy to help.
Another great resource for “all things CCE” is the California Community Choice Association, or CalCCA. Their mission is to create a legislative and regulatory environment that supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run CCA electricity providers, to protect energy choice in California.The CalCCA website is filled with information about the universe of Community Choice programs in the state of California, including data and articles that might interest you.