Ava is the greener choice for the electricity that powers our homes and businesses in the East Bay.
Choosing a local public power provider that places a high priority on renewable, carbon-free energy is an easy, economical way to help create a healthier environment. Do you have questions about Ava?
Check out our FAQs below
If you don’t find the information you need, please contact us.
Why did you change your name from East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) to Ava Community Energy (Ava)?
EBCE has grown to serve customers outside of Alameda County, and as we begin service in Stockton and Lathrop in 2025, this will be even more true. Through research, it became clear that not everyone in the EBCE service territory identifies as belonging to the “East Bay.” We want all community members to feel included, so we are evolving our name to better signal that we’re for all our constituents. Learn more: AvaEnergy.org/brand
How does Ava work?
Ava Community Energy purchases power with higher renewable content than PG&E. Other than receiving more renewable electricity at competitive prices, all other aspects of your electricity service remain the same. PG&E continues to deliver the electricity, maintain the power lines, handle billing, and respond to new service requests and emergencies. If you want to stay with PG&E for your electricity, you can opt out of Ava Community Energy.
When and where is Ava service available?
Ava started service to most municipal and commercial accounts in June 2018 and to residential customers in November 2018. Ava serves Alameda County and 14 of its member cities (Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, and Union City) as well as the City of Tracy. The City of Stockton will begin Ava service in 2025. The City of Alameda is not eligible as it has its own municipal electric utility.
Does Ava fully replace PG&E?
No. Ava procures electricity for our customers, and PG&E delivers 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 outages. Those who prefer to have PG&E continue to buy their electricity can choose that option.
So when the power goes out, PG&E will fix it?
Yes, absolutely. PG&E crews in their distinctive blue trucks will maintain the lines and repair them as needed, just as they do today.
Where will you be buying the renewable electricity?
The power portfolio is currently under development, but to date Ava has signed contracts to build over 740 megawatts of wind and solar power, and over 274 megawatts of battery storage. The intent is to purchase as much renewable electricity as possible from sources located in California at prices that remain competitive with PG&E. Ava is subject to reporting requirements, just like PG&E, including a Power Content Label that is published annually in October for the previous year’s electricity.
Are other counties considering this?
Cities and counties throughout California are already moving forward with similar programs. There are currently 24 operational Community Choice Energy programs (CCEs) in California, serving more than 11 million customers, and that number is estimated to grow. According to a 2017 report from the Center for Climate Protection, CCEs will reduce at least 5 million metric tons of GHG emissions cumulatively compared to the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), and CCE customers will save $188 million more per year by the end of 2020 compared with what customers would have spent if they stayed with the incumbent utilities.
Was that Ava knocking on your door?
No! Ava does not go door-to-door to customers' homes nor does Ava have any relationship with gas service providers. If someone comes to your door representing themselves as being with Ava, please ask for their name and then report them to Ava and/or local authorities.
Enrollment & Opt-Out
When and where is Ava service available?
Ava started service in 2018. Ava serves Alameda County and 14 of its member cities, as well as the City of Tracy.
How do I enroll in Ava?
Ava replaces PG&E as the default electricity provider throughout Ava’s service area. Anyone with a PG&E electric account in these areas was automatically enrolled in Ava.
Why am I automatically enrolled in Ava? Do I have a choice?
That’s the way the law governing the formation of CCE programs like Ava was written. When a city or county decides to participate, all their residents and businesses are automatically enrolled. Nevertheless, if you wish to remain with PG&E, you may do so by opting out of Ava. An online opt-out form is available.
How do I opt out of Ava and choose PG&E?
Customers may opt out of Ava and choose PG&E service. To do so, visit this page and complete the form, or call our call center at +1 833.699.3223 and use the automated phone system, or talk with a customer service representative (available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays). Note that unless you choose PG&E, you will remain enrolled in Ava service if your premise is in our service area.
I’ve heard that PG&E is charging an additional fee—an exit fee—for customers who leave. What’s that about?
That’s the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment or PCIA, sometimes called an “exit fee.” It will appear on your bill as a separate line item under the PG&E Electric Delivery Charges. PG&E has various long-term contracts for buying electricity for its customers; some are as long as 20 years. It bought power based on the number of customers it serves. The price is locked in, which is good when the cost of generating electricity is rising as one might expect over a long time period. Recently, however, the cost of natural gas, has been going down.
When customers switch to Ava, PG&E needs to provide less electricity but still has to pay for the amount of power in its long-term contracts. So PG&E sells the excess power on the open market. Right now, contracted electricity generated by natural gas or renewable sources is selling for less than what PG&E paid for it. That difference is charged to Ava customers under the guidance of the California Public Utilities Commission.
What’s most important to know is that Ava’s rates—including the PCIA charge—will still be competitive with PG&E’s rates.
I’ve heard that PG&E will lose jobs in the Bay Area with all the new local electricity providers.
The vast majority of PG&E employees provide transmission and distribution system maintenance and upgrades, billing, and customer service—all of which PG&E will continue to provide. There have not been any noticeable job losses in communities that have a second, local electricity provider—in fact new jobs have been created constructing and operating local energy generation facilities. The Ava Technical Study also anticipates a net increase in good paying jobs as the result of the Ava program.
Can I return to Ava if I opt out?
Customers who opt out within the first 60 days of Ava service may return to Ava at any time. Based on state law, customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with Ava must wait one year before returning to Ava.
Is there a fee for opting out?
Customers may be charged a one-time termination fee of $5 per residential account or $25 per commercial account.
Can I opt out at any time?
You may opt out of Ava electric generation service at any time by calling +1 833.699.3223 or by completing the opt-out form at AvaEnergy.org/optout. You will need your PG&E account information to begin the opt-out process.
If returning to PG&E generation service after receiving Ava service for more than 60 days, PG&E requires that you choose one of the following options:
Option 1: Return to PG&E generation service at the end of the current billing cycle. You will be billed at PG&E’s transitional rates for a six-month period, and PG&E’s standard bundled electricity rates thereafter.
Option 2: Give six month’s advance notice of your intent to return to PG&E generation service. At the end of the six-month notice period, you will be returned to PG&E service and billed PG&E’s standard bundled electricity rates.
Do I pay less on Ava service than I would if I opted out and chose PG&E?
If you are on Ava's Bright Choice service, then your monthly electricity bill is slightly lower than it would be if you were on PG&E standard service. Ava's Bright Choice rates, plus all applicable fees from PG&E, total 5% less than what customers would otherwise pay. For details, please visit AvaEnergy.org/understand-your-bill/
How can I compare different rate schedules?
You can run a rate comparison online at pge.com/myrate to get an estimate of your charges on different rates. Note that the rate comparisons use your last 12 months of usage to calculate your estimated charges.
What are these Ava Community Energy (Ava) charges on my PG&E bill? Am I paying more now with Ava?
Your PG&E bill now includes charges from Ava Community Energy, your new electricity provider, and a new Generation Credit from PG&E. You had been previously paying PG&E for electricity generation, as well as for transmission and distribution. Now, your bill shows that you’re receiving electricity from Ava and transmission and distribution from PG&E.
Please see this web page for more information on how to understand your bill. Customers on Ava’s Bright Choice service will see a small reduction on their total energy bill and receive energy that’s cleaner than PG&E’s power mix. Renewable 100 customers pay a little bit more for 100 percent renewable energy.
How come there is no Generation Credit on my PG&E bill?
Most Ava customers see a Generation Credit on their PG&E bill each month (usually on page 3), showing what they would have paid PG&E for generation service. The Generation Credit appears because PG&E first charges customers the fully-bundled retail cost per kilowatt-hour, which includes transmission, distribution, generation, fees, taxes, etc. Then for Ava customers they remove the cost of generation service from that total, and issue that amount as a Generation Credit. Ava provides the generation service, and our charges replace that Generation Credit.
In two cases customers do not see a Generation Credit: solar net energy metered accounts, and customers who use minimal amounts of electricity. These customers pay PG&E’s Minimum Delivery Charge instead of paying per kWh for PG&E electric delivery service. These accounts are not charged by the kilowatt-hour for electric delivery service, they are charged a daily fee instead.These customers do not pay a fully-bundled retail cost per kilowatt-hour, and are never charged by PG&E for generation service, so there is no need for PG&E to issue a kWh-based Generation Credit.
If these customers are interested in comparing their Ava charges to what they would have paid PG&E for generation service, they can calculate a “proxy” Generation Credit by multiplying their monthly kWh consumption times the generation rate(s) in their PG&E rate schedule (available here https://www.pge.com/tariffs/index.page). It is important to note that customers who do not receive a Generation Credit on their bill are still saving 1% compared to PG&E rates if they are on Ava’s Bright Choice service.
How can Ava offer lower rates?
What makes Ava so powerful is that it supports clean energy market competition in three ways:
1. Ava buys power through a competitive process that encourages private energy companies to compete to provide more clean, renewable power at lower costs.
2. Ava is a local government agency with low overhead costs.
3. Because there are no shareholder investors expecting dividends, Ava can reinvest net revenue into the community and keep rates low.
How will Ava set its rates?
Ava electricity rates are set through a transparent public process and approved by the Ava Board of Directors, elected officials from all participating jurisdictions. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in publicly noticed hearings for each step of the process.
Will rates be stable?
Ava’s rates are based on PG&E generation rates. In general, when PG&E updates their rates, Ava rates will also be adjusted accordingly to maintain our customer discount. Ava’s value proposition, which sets the discount from PG&E generation rates, goes through a public rate setting process once per year. The public is encouraged to attend these value proposition meetings and submit public comments.
Which service will I be enrolled in?
Ava default service level is dependent on jurisdiction and timing of enrollment. Your city's City Council determines the default service for customers in your jurisdiction. For more information and to find your service level, check out our webpage at AvaEnergy.org/terms/.
Will my taxes be used to fund this program?
No. By law, Ava can only be funded through revenues—revenue is used to reduce or stabilize rates, incentives, local renewable projects, and customized programs such as energy efficiency services and rebates. Ava’s budget is completely separate from the general funds of participating local governments and is approved by the board before the start of the fiscal year on July 1 each year.
Will I still receive my CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline discounts with Ava?
If you receive a low-income discount on your electricity bill through the CARE, FERA or Medical Baseline Allowance programs, that discount will continue to apply as an Ava customer. Renewals and new enrollment applications are still handled by PG&E – visit pge.com/financialassistance for more information.
Does PG&E's conservation incentive (aka tiered rates) apply to Ava customers?
Yes. The conservation incentive is applied by PG&E (not by Ava) but impacts your bill the same way whether you are on Ava service or not. For a detailed example, see page two of this document (PDF) under the section entitled “Unbundling of Total Rates.” In that section, there is a Generation charge of $0.11778 per kWh. That is PG&E’s rate, which will be replaced by Ava. Below that you see “Conservation Incentive Adjustment.” That is the baseline treatment. Whether you are a PG&E customer for generation service or on Ava, that treatment remains the same. So no matter what tier of usage you have in a given month, Ava’s rates will reflect the value proposition proposed depending on which service you are on (Bright Choice or Renewable 100).
Does Ava have Time-of-Use rates?
Does Ava support SmartRate?
No. SmartRate is a program offered only to PG&E generation customers. However, Ava customers can sign up for a similar service through companies that offer demand response programs. The California Public Utilities Commission maintains a list of these companies.
I opted into a Time-of-Use schedule with peak hours everyday from 4 pm to 9 pm. Does Ava support this rate schedule?
Do I get billed separately by Ava?
No, you will continue to receive one monthly bill from PG&E that includes Ava charges. The general look, appearance, and setup of your bill will not change, although Ava electricity supply charges will replace PG&E electricity supply charges. A full description of how to read your bill is available here.
What is the PCIA?
That’s the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment or PCIA, sometimes called an “exit fee.” The PCIA is intended to ensure that customers who switch to Ava pay for energy that was contracted by PG&E to serve them prior to their switch. It will appear on your bill as a separate line item in the PG&E Electric Delivery Charges section of the bill. What’s most important to know is that Ava’s rates—even with the PCIA charge included—will still be competitive with PG&E’s rates.
Can PG&E raise delivery fees on Ava customers above those of non-Ava customers?
No. PG&E must provide the same transmission and distribution rates for all customers in their service area whether or not they receive electricity from PG&E or a Community Choice Energy program such as Ava.
Do PG&E employees retain their employee discount while served by Ava?
Yes, the PG&E employee discount is exactly the same dollar value whether you are on Ava generation service or PG&E bundled service.
Does PG&E's conservation incentive (aka tiered rates) apply to Ava customers?
Yes. The conservation incentive is applied by PG&E (not by Ava) but impacts your bill the same way whether you are on Ava service or not. For a detailed example, see page two of this document (PDF) (PDF) under the section entitled “Unbundling of Total Rates.” In that section, there is a Generation charge of $0.11778 per kWh. That is PG&E’s rate, which will be replaced by Ava. Below that you see “Conservation Incentive Adjustment.” That is the baseline treatment. Whether you are a PG&E customer for generation service or on Ava, that treatment remains the same. So no matter what tier of usage you have in a given month, Ava’s rates will reflect the value proposition proposed depending on which service you are on (Bright Choice or Renewable 100).
Do Ava customers receive the California Climate Credit?
Yes. Twice a year, in Spring and Fall, you will see the California Climate Credit appear on your PG&E bill. This credit is your share of money from California’s Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program. You will see this credit whether you are a customer of Ava or PG&E.
Does Ava offer the same Budget Billing (Balance Payment Plan) option that PG&E does?
Unfortunately, Ava does not offer this. Customers on Ava service can have budget billing for their PG&E charges, but not for their Ava charges. You will still receive one bill, but with some month to month fluctuation that corresponds to the generation charge.
What is the Arrearage Management Plan (AMP)?
The Arrearage Management Plan (AMP) is a debt forgiveness program. Ava participates in this program and it is administered by PG&E. AMP allows for 1/12 of a customer's past-due balance to be forgiven every month the customer's current bill is paid-in-full. At the end of one year, the past debt is fully forgiven. Forgiven debt includes money owed for Ava generation service and PG&E services. All past-due debt, up to $8,0000, accrued at the start of the program is eligible for forgiveness. This includes debts owed to Ava.
Do I qualify for the Arrearage Management Plan?
Customers that meet the following requirements will qualify for AMP:
*Enrolled in the CARE or FERA programs
*Owe a minimum of $500 in arrearages, with at least some of that debt being more than 90 days past due
*Has been a PG&E customer for at least six months
*Has made at least one on-time payment in the past two years
*CCA customers (Ava customers) qualify to participate in AMP
How do I enroll in AMP?
If you think you qualify, call PG&E at +1 800.743.5000 and ask to enroll in AMP. PG&E is unable to enroll customers via the web at this time.
What happens if I am on AMP and can't pay my bill?
Ava encourages our customers to enroll in AMP when they are able to pay their bill in full for a full year. If you miss two payments in a row, you will be removed from the program. Past debts that have been forgiven will remain forgiven.
Commercial, Agricultural & Industrial Customers
Will Ava have a separate rate structure for agricultural customers?
Ava will use the same rate schedules as PG&E, including those rates specific to agricultural customers such as AG-1, AG-4, and AG-5. The current rate sheet can be found on the website here.
What if I have multiple accounts?
Owners of multiple accounts can choose to opt up or opt out your individual accounts. Enrollment is by account, so you’ll be able to see all your accounts and decide what is best for each one.
What if I have existing direct access arrangements?
Any existing direct access arrangements will not be automatically enrolled in Ava’s program. Direct Access (DA) service is retail electric service where customers purchase electricity from a competitive provider called an Electric Service Provider (ESP), instead of from a regulated electric utility. However, those customers can choose to become Ava customers. Special direct access termination provisions may apply.
Solar & NEM Customers
In addition to the Bright Choice discount on net usage, are there other benefits for NEM customers of being with Ava?
While the financial benefit for Ava’s Standard Ava NEM customers may be similar to PG&E NEM service, Ava provides other benefits as a local not for profit public agency. As an Ava customer, you can choose your service level and electricity mix: Bright Choice or Renewable 100. Ava offers Bright Choice at a lower rate than PG&E, Renewable 100, which is 100% renewable energy, and we have a goal of offering 100% carbon-free Bright Choice power by 2030. Ava is a local not-for-profit public agency, which means all of our board meetings are open to the public and net revenues are reinvested in our communities to create local jobs, innovative energy programs and clean power projects. Ava’s Board is composed of democratically elected leaders from each jurisdiction the agency serves; which makes them more available and accountable to the communities they serve.
You can also participate in both Ava and PG&E programs. For more information on Ava programs, visit our website at AvaEnergy.org/programs.
Why am I paying every month, when I used to only pay once a year for my energy usage?
With Ava service, the default is a monthly true-up. That means that, if you are a net consumer, you will pay for that month’s charges or your credits will be applied to cover the cost. If you are a net producer, you will accumulate credits that can be applied to future bills. These credits are paid out during the April cash-out period according to our annual cash-out terms. Your PG&E electric delivery charges will continue to be trued up on an annual basis.
Beginning in April 2023, you can also choose an annual true-up with Ava, which would roll over credits and debits until the true-up in April. Annual true-up customers will receive either a bill if usage exceeds generation or a payment for surplus generation at the April true-up. The majority of Ava’s NEM customers consume more electricity than they generate annually.
Your PG&E electric delivery charges will continue to be trued up on an annual basis.
What is a true up? What is the difference between a monthly and annual true-up?
Ava true-up bill example:
Is a monthly or annual true-up better for me?
The main difference between monthly and annual is the timing of when you pay for usage that is not covered by your own generation. Most customers will, over the course of the year, do about the same financially on either true-up option. Customers that tend to significantly over-generate in March and April may see a small financial benefit to choosing the annual true-up option. This is because on an annual true-up you can use credits generated at the end of the year to cover previous months' charges. On the other hand, customers that tend to be net consumers annually may not like the annual true-up because it involves a larger lump sum payment once a year, rather than paying a smaller amount on a monthly basis.
If you typically see a large true-up bill from PG&E’s annual NEM true-up for your delivery charges, you’d likely see a significant true-up bill from Ava. Some customers don’t mind this, while others prefer to spread payments out over the year.
Can I change my true-up cycle with Ava partway through the year?
Ava offers both a monthly and annual true-up for your generation charges. You can change your true-up cycle at any time by visiting AvaEnergy.org/nem or calling us at +1 833.699.3223, but it will only be effective once the current NEM settlement period concludes in April. All true-up cycle selections are implemented each April.
I see negative numbers for my net generation and net usage. What does this mean? How can I see how much I am generating/ using/ net consuming each month?
If you see negative numbers for both your net generation and net usage, this indicates that you have generated more electricity than you used that billing period.
Your consumption is your total electric usage for the billing cycle. Your net generation is the amount of electricity that your NEM system delivers to the grid and your net usage is your net electricity usage from the grid.
What is the net usage?
The net usage is the net electricity usage for the billing period. It is the consumption minus the positive net generation. Your charges are based on your net usage.
Net usage= Consumption - Net Generation (positive)In the example below, the net usage = 431.78 - 444.237 kWh
What is the net generation?
The net generation is the amount of electricity that your system is putting back onto the grid during the billing period.
What is the rollover credit balance?
The rollover credit balance is your calculated cash-out from the previous April cash-out period. If your cash-out value was less than $100, this will stay on your account and can be used for future monthly charges. If your cash-out value was greater than or equal to $100, this will only stay on your account until your check has been sent.
What is the baseline credit?
The baseline allowance applies to customers on the following rates: the Tiered Rate Plan (E-1), the Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4 - 9 p.m. Every Day) E-TOU-C, and those receiving PG&E gas service.
Energy used within the baseline allowance amount is billed at the lowest price.
The baseline credit ensures that you are paying (or being credited at) the lowest price for energy used within the baseline allowance.
What is the difference between the generation credit I see on my bill and NEM credits for surplus generation?
All Ava customers receive the generation credit from PG&E since they are no longer providing you with electric generation service. This credit is what PG&E would have charged you for electricity that you use. Ava now provides the generation service. NEM customers receive credit for surplus generation with Ava that show up on the Ava page of the bill as the “NEM Balance''. This NEM balance tracks your credits each month for any overgeneration your NEM system produces.
Do I still have an annual true up with PG&E?
Yes, you keep your annual true-up with PG&E for your electric delivery charges. Please refer to PG&E for more information on their NEM services.
How do I find the PG&E estimated true up and the Ava estimated true up?
You can find your PG&E estimated annual true-up charges on the first or second page of your bill. As an Ava customer, these estimated true-up charges will only include delivery and transmission charges.
Ava’s April cash-out/ true-up period is when we pay customers for their surplus generation throughout the year. You can find your Ava credits on the Ava page of your bill listed as the “NEM Balance”. During the April cash-out period, any retail credits will be converted to your cash-out value, which depends on your NEM program with Ava. As a Standard Ava NEM customer, your surplus generation in kWh will be multiplied by the wholesale or Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) rate (PDF) for electricity to find your cash out value. The NSC rate is typically about 3-5 cents per kWh.
On the first page of your bill, you may see the following table, which includes an estimate of your PG&E true-up.
On the second page of your bill, you may see the following tables, which track your monthly PG&E charges/ credits and provide an estimate of your charges at true-up.
On the Ava page of your bill, you will see the NEM Balance, which tracks your retail credits/ debits for net generation or net usage.
Why is there a delivery charge if my system generates more electricity than I consume?
There is a minimum delivery fee to be interconnected to the grid. This fee is typically about $10/ month for the average residential NEM customer and is assessed on the PG&E delivery portion of your bill.
Why is there a true-up for delivery and transmission fees? I thought the delivery fee was a fixed amount?
Delivery and transmission charges are based on your usage in kWh. Net generators that do not have any net usage may only be charged the minimum delivery fees for being connected to the grid.
Are PG&E charges covered by my Ava NEM balance?
No, the Ava NEM balance credits will only be used to cover Ava generation charges.
As a net generator, do I get credits from both Ava and PG&E?
Yes, you will receive credits at the retail rate from PG&E and Ava when you net generate in a billing cycle. These credits are used to cover future monthly charges. Your annual cash out is calculated based on your over generation in kWh, so your annual cash out will only come from Ava.
I have credits on my Ava NEM balance at true up, but did not receive a check. Why?
If your cash-out value with Ava is less than $100, this will stay on your bill as the Rollover Credit Balance.
Alternatively, this may be due to a time-of-use rate schedule. You may have overgenerated during peak periods when electricity was more expensive, but you were a net consumer in total. This would result in you accruing NEM credits throughout the year, but not being eligible for the annual cash-out since you did not have any surplus generation. You can reach out to us at +1 833.699.3223 and we can review your bill in more detail.
Can I change my true up month with PG&E?
Yes, we are aware of an option to make a one-time request to change your true-up month with PG&E. In addition, any time there is a significant change to your service, a true-up of your NEM charges will be triggered and your true-up month will be changed. Please reach out to PG&E’s solar hotline at +1 877.743.4112 with any questions.
What is the retail rate vs. the wholesale rate?
The retail rate is the rate that you are charged for electricity. Every month, you receive credits for over generation at the same rate that you would have been charged. The wholesale rate is the Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) rate, which is the same rate that PG&E pays out for surplus generation. The NSC rate (PDF) is based on the market rate for energy and is updated every month.
If I change my service level during the middle of the year, how will my April cash-out be calculated?
As a Standard Ava NEM customer, your surplus generation of kWh is multiplied by the NSC to calculate your cash-out payment. The cash-out payment is not affected by your service level.
As a CARE/ FERA Ava NEM or legacy municipal NEM customer, your monthly credit is based on the generation rate you are paying during that bill cycle + $0.01/kWh. If you switch service levels, the change will occur on your next bill cycle and you will then incur credits or pay for net usage based on that service level. At the April cash-out, you will be paid the dollar amount that is listed as your credit.
What happens with my credits if I close my account or leave Ava prior to the April cash out period?
Accounts that terminate or leave Ava service prior to April are eligible for the Ava annual cash out process and will be sent a check for any surplus generation that amounts to a credit balance. Customers that opt out and choose PG&E should be advised that PG&E will perform a true‐up of their account at the time of return to PG&E bundled service, and that PG&E’s standard terms for transitional rates apply to customer returns with less than a six‐month advance notice if they have been an Ava customer for 60 days or more.
What if I am on a time of use (TOU) rate? How will this affect my monthly credit and annual cash-out?
Your credit is based on the applicable TOU period-specific rates/charges. You will be credited based on the rate when you over-generate and you will be charged based on the rate when you consume electricity.
For the annual cash-out, Standard Ava NEM customers will have their surplus kWh (generation) multiplied by the NSC rate. CARE/FERA Ava NEM and Legacy Municipal NEM customers will be paid the dollar amount listed as credit.
If I am a Standard Ava NEM customer on Renewable 100, will my April cash-out include the Renewable 100 adder?
At the April cash-out for Standard Ava NEM customers, the surplus generation of kWh is multiplied by the net surplus compensation rate regardless of service level.
During regular months, the surplus generation is saved as a credit at the retail rate (the rate you are charged for power by Ava), including the extra premium for Renewable 100.
What is Ava Community Energy (Ava)?
Ava Community Energy (Ava) is a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. State law allows cities and counties to pool the electricity demand of their residents and businesses for the purpose of buying electricity on behalf of those customers as part of a CCE program.
Ava, a joint powers authority formed in 2016, is a locally controlled, not for profit public agency covering most of Alameda County and also the City of Tracy. It provides residents and businesses in those communities with an option to have more of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar and wind—at competitive rates.
When customers are enrolled with Ava, 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, Ava’s net revenue (after buying power and administrative expenses), can be used to help stabilize electricity prices, provide incentives for more solar installations, support energy efficiency programs, develop more local renewable energy sources in and near Alameda County, and invest in innovative clean technologies and energy-related job training—all while keeping electricity rates competitive with PG&E.
How is the program run?
The County and participating cities will govern Ava. The Board of Directors is composed of elected officials representing each of the participating communities. The Board sets rates and determines the mix of power sources. There is a small staff to run day-to-day operations and provide customer support. The entire process is completely transparent, with all Board meetings open to the public.
What is Community Choice Energy (CCE)?
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 was enacted into law to establish Community Choice Aggregation opportunities in California, now referred to as Community Choice Energy (CCE). It allows a city or county (or groups of cities or counties) to become the default electric supplier in its jurisdiction(s). By doing so, it offers an opportunity for Californians to locally influence the sources of their electricity. Marin Clean Energy (now called MCE Clean Energy) was California’s first CCE program launched in 2010. For more information visit our trade association website.
Is there a downside to Community Choice? There must be some risk.
As with any business enterprise, there are risks. The primary risks are customer opt-outs, energy price fluctuations, and changing state regulations. A successful CCE program requires that a significant majority of residential and commercial customers obtain their electricity from the program. This is one reason why CCE programs strive to maintain competitive pricing, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and providing higher renewable content than what you can get from the incumbent utility.
California’s energy markets have been stable for several years and prices for electricity from both renewable and conventional energy sources (natural gas) are relatively low. Markets could become more volatile. Ava will hedge risks by developing a diverse portfolio that includes a mix of long-term and short-term contracts and direct investments in power projects.
The regulatory risk is difficult to predict. A 2002 State law allows cities and counties to develop programs like this—the State is supportive. Many CCE programs have been very active in the California Public Utilities Commission’s regulatory proceedings and have established a strong network. As more local programs are developed, we will have an even stronger presence—it will be essential to actively participate in ongoing regulatory proceedings
How will the program be regulated?
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the entity that regulates all California energy providers, approved the Ava Implementation Plan in October 2017. The Plan discusses rate design, plan to buy electricity, and how we will carry out all the functions the CPUC requires. Ava must comply with various reporting requirements issued by the CPUC and the California Energy Commission.
What does the Community Advisory Committee do and who is on it?
Members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) were selected by the Ava Board of Directors following an application process. The CAC advises the Board on matters related to the operation of Ava. A list of CAC members is available here.
Where did the money to start Ava come from?
The County of Alameda issued a $3.7 million loan to launch Ava. Ava paid off this loan in full in 2019.
Ava's Energy Supply
How much renewable energy will Ava provide?
Ava will provide much of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and small hydroelectricity—which do not pollute or produce greenhouse gases. Switching from conventional energy sources to renewable energy is the single most effective way to accomplish our communities’ climate action goals. Check out the website for more information on our power mix. Ava's Board of Directors established the goal of purchasing 100% clean power by 2030 — a full 15 years before the state's goal date.
How much renewable energy does PG&E offer?
PG&E offers two options to customers—a standard product with 31% renewable energy (as of 2020) and a “Solar Choice” product with 100% solar energy.
What’s different about how Ava buys power?
Currently, PG&E owns some electricity generation facilities such as natural gas-burning plants, large hydroelectric dams, and one nuclear plant. It also buys electricity on the open market.
Ava will directly contract for electricity generated from renewable sources, and also on the open market as needed. Ava will also invest in and build local renewable energy projects. Several projects have been built specifically to serve Ava customers - for more information about our power projects, visit here.
Isn’t renewable power more expensive than regular electricity?
Not any more. During the past 30 years the costs of fossil fuels have been rising, although natural gas and oil prices have come down recently. During the same time, the cost of renewable sources has dropped dramatically. In fact, in California, renewable energy is often cheaper than fossil fuel because after the initial construction costs, the fuels—wind and sun—are free.
How does the electricity you buy actually get to my house?
Ava will buy the same amount of electricity that customers use, and feed it into California’s electric grid. When the electrons hit the grid, no one can determine where each individual electron goes. Ava will provide cleaner electricity to the grid (with higher renewable content and fewer greenhouse gases), displacing what PG&E had been providing. It’s like when you deposit $100 into one ATM and later take it out of another ATM. It’s not the same $100, but it is your money. The advantage of Ava is that Ava has lower rates, we offer additional energy programs and incentives for our customers, and we are on track toward our goal of 100% carbon-free power for all customers by 2030.
What’s the difference between renewably sourced electricity and carbon-free electricity?
Electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, and small hydroelectric plants is renewable because those sources are never depleted. They do not create greenhouse gases so they are also carbon-free.
Other sources of electricity include nuclear facilities and large hydroelectric dams. They don’t create greenhouse gases so they are considered to be carbon-free. However, the state of California does not recognize those two sources as renewable.
If Ava offers 50% renewable energy sources, for example, where’s the rest coming from?
Initially, there may be natural gas or carbon-free hydroelectric components which are purchased on the open market. However, Ava, like its counterparts in Marin, Sonoma, and San Mateo, will reduce its reliance on carbon-producing sources over time.
What about buying electricity from a coal-fired plant?
And power generated by large hydroelectric dams?
There is a mix of small (renewable) and large (not renewable, but carbon-free) hydroelectric power in Bright Choice in order to minimize carbon emissions.
Why has Ava’s power mix contained 1% nuclear power?
Ava’s 2019, 2020, and 2021 power mix contained about 1% nuclear power. This 1% nuclear power comes from asset controlling supplier (ACS) systems that own, operate, or market interconnected electricity generating facilities. For example, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is an asset controlling supplier. While ACS suppliers can provide low GHG-free power, they cannot sell directly from a particular resource, but rather they provide a slice of their overall portfolio. Most of the ACS that Ava purchased consists of hydropower from the Pacific Northwest. The resource mix is primarily hydropower, but they also have a small amount of nuclear power.
ACS purchases were previously reported as unspecified sources of power, per California disclosure rules. In 2020, the reporting requirements changed and became effective retroactively for 2019, requiring load-serving entities to list the individual components of ACS.
I see "Unspecified Sources of Power" listed as an electricity source on Ava's Power Content Label and on the Joint Rate Comparison with PG&E. What does that mean?
Unspecified sources of power refers to electricity that is not traceable to a specific generating facility, such as electricity traded through open market transactions. Unspecified sources of power are typically a mix of resource types, and may include renewables. For more information visit: https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2020-total-system-electric-generation
I see that the emissions factor for Ava's Bright Choice is above the state average and PG&E’s emissions factor for 2021 (most recent data as of January 2023). Why?
There are a number of reasons why the greenhouse gas emissions intensity for Bright Choice was relatively high (564 lbs CO2e/MWh) in 2021 compared to the state utility average (456 lbs/MWh) and PG&E (98 lbs/MWh). The primary difference in Ava’s electricity supply is the amount of nuclear power. As reflected in our 2021 (most recent) Power Content Label (PDF), Ava’s power supply for Bright Choice was 1.7% nuclear, whereas the state average was 9.3% and PG&E was 39.3%. Nuclear power is not renewable, but it is considered emissions-free in those calculations.
Ava elected to not accept the nuclear power allocation from PG&E. Our Board voted, with strong input from the public, to take that step knowing that one consequence was having a temporarily higher emissions factor. Ava is on a path to 100% carbon-free for all customers by 2030. Our plan aims for Bright Choice to be sourced from at least 50% renewable and 68% carbon-free sources in 2022 and 54% renewable and 71% carbon-free resources in 2023. We're on a fast path to decarbonizing our customers' electricity!
California law (SB 350) requires that all electricity must be 50% renewable by 2030. Why start Ava if PG&E will also be delivering 50% renewable electricity?
SB 350 is a great law. Yet we don’t see any reason to wait until 2030 to reach that level of renewable energy content in the power delivered to our community. We can do it now. That level has already been achieved in Marin and San Mateo and will soon be achieved in Sonoma and San Francisco.
Ava’s baseline energy product has as large a portion of renewable energy sources as possible, and that’s just the beginning. Our 2020 power mix for Bright Choice was 40% renewable, plus 14.5% large hydropower. Our Board of Directors established the goal of purchasing 100% clean power by 2030 — a full 15 years before the state's goal date for carbon-free power.
How can I be sure that Ava is buying 100% renewable energy on my behalf when I enroll in Renewable 100?
Ava is required to report to the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission on an annual basis to verify the amount of renewable energy procured for our customers. This is the same standard used by all California utilities, including PG&E, for verification purposes. Each megawatt-hour of renewable energy is tracked in the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS).