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Nevada County Pauses Joining Pioneer Energy

After hearing about an unanticipated spike in renewable energy market prices, Nevada County will not be part of a Joint Powers Agency with a new electricity provider for the time being. Officials for that provider, Pioneer Community Energy, appeared before the Board of Supervisors again at their meeting on Tuesday. And Executive Director Don Eckert said an Impact Assessment found that because of the increase in prices, coupled with higher costs related to resource adequacy requirements, procuring power for unincorporated customers would put notable pressure on Pioneer’s financial performance….

click to listen to Don Eckert

The report found that prices have quadrupled in the last year and resource adequacy prices have tripled. So adding Nevada County to the JPA would result in large operating deficits that would have to be covered through higher bills for new customers, but not existing ones. Grass Valley and Nevada City have already joined and will not be affected. Hearing that, Supervisor Lisa Swarthout said it made sense to put a pause to the process…

click to listen to Lisa Swarthout

The Board voted to re-visit possibly joining Pioneer in about a year and perhaps longer, depending on how prices look then. During a presentation in August, the company said average monthly savings on PG and E bills would be about 20 dollars. Customers could always opt out before the JPA takes effect. But if they opt in and then decide to opt out, the change wouldn’t take effect for another year.

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