Monthly Archives

February 2017

Sustainability

Come Meet Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy LogoPeninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo’s new energy provider and you may have some questions. On Wednesday, March 8th the city of San Mateo invites you to attend an informational workshop with representatives from Peninsula Clean Energy. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the San Mateo Main Library and provides an opportunity to learn and ask questions about San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. If you have questions, want to know more about PCE and how it differs from PG&E, then reserve your space for the upcoming event using Eventbrite. In the meantime, keep reading for a bit more background about San Mateo County’s new energy provider.

What is PCE?

Peninsula Clean Energy was created in February 2016 when all 20 cities in San Mateo County, plus the county of San Mateo, voted unanimously to form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the program. This action created a new public, locally controlled electricity provider that gives all PG&E customers in San Mateo County the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at competitive rates.

PCE’s role is to provide electric generation, which is the source of your power, while PG&E continues to provide electric delivery and billing services. PG&E still owns and reads your electric meter, sends your monthly bill and provides the same maintenance and other repair services they always have.

Why am I automatically enrolled in PCE?

The State, through Assembly Bill 117 passed in 2002, mandates that anytime a new community choice aggregation is created, it will become the default product for customers served by that provider. As such, PCE, with its ability to provide cleaner electricity at lower costs, becomes the default service for San Mateo County. PCE will automatically enroll residents and businesses in Peninsula Clean Energy as the roll-out continues this year. Three choices are available to PCE customers:

  • Peninsula Clean Energy’s default offering, ECOplus, which is 50% renewable energy, 75% greenhouse gas free energy, and less expensive than PG&E.
  • PG&E’s standard offering, which is 30% renewable energy, 60% greenhouse gas free energy, and more expensive than ECOplus
  • Peninsula Clean Energy’s 100% renewable energy product, ECO100, which is slightly more expensive than PG&E.

If you don’t like or want to be enrolled in PCE, you can easily opt-out by going online or calling 1(866)966-0110.

Higher rates are due to PG&E increases that took effect in January. PCE customers will begin to see reductions in mid-March.

Rates were supposed to be lower. They’re not.

On January 1, 2017, PG&E increased their electric generation rates by about 1.5 to 3%. Also on January 1, 2017, PG&E increased the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) by 26%. PCIA is a fee paid to PG&E by Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) customers. When PCE set their rates in 2016, they were set to be 5% lower than PG&E’s electric rates, even with the PCIA charge.

In response to PG&E’s rate increase earlier this year, Peninsula Clean Energy voted in January to reduce rates to maintain their original 5% discount below PG&E’s electric generation rates. The PCE rate reduction will go into effect on March 15, 2017. At that time customers will again see rates that are 5% below PG&E’s generation rate, including the additional PCIA charge. For details about how to compare Peninsula Clean Energy rates to PG&E’s rates, please look at this sample bill.

Why should I stick with Peninsula Clean Energy?

Peninsula Clean Energy is good for San Mateo County, good for the environment, and will, in the long-term, save customers money on their electric bill. Providing customers throughout San Mateo County with the option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at competitive rates makes sense. It’s a new program, and the roll-out of PCE is happening incrementally.

PCE has just started to launch the second phase of the roll-out to new customers. Throughout February and March, 210,000 new customers will receive notifications about being enrolled in PCE during the month of April. At that time, new customers, and those that enrolled in late 2016 will see the lower rates, approved in January, go into effect.   The rate change will maintain PCE’s 5% discount below PG&E’s electric generation rates and provide greener electricity with 50% renewable content.

Reserve your space and plan to attend the March 8th information workshop in San Mateo. It’s a great way to meet PCE representatives and ask questions about San Mateo County’s new community choice energy provider. Sign-up today! Or visit Peninsula Clean Energy online.

 

Attendees at Taste and Talk Forum raise hands to ask questions
Community Development, Downtown

The Update to the Downtown Specific Plan is Underway

Participate in an online survey to share your ideas and get involved in the planning process

Downtown Plan LogoSustainable streets, access to transit, bike and pedestrian amenities, housing and jobs, diversity of retail opportunities, and inviting public spaces. What does Downtown San Mateo mean to you? The update of the Downtown Specific Plan will engage the community in a lively dialogue to address many of these topics and identify a framework that will shape the future vision of our downtown.

The community kick-off meeting took place on Monday, January 23rd and the first Taste and Talk Forum, focusing on the ingredients that make a great downtown, was held on Wednesday, February 8th. Both meetings were well attended (approx. 90-100 attendees) and show that the community has a strong interest in the future of Downtown San Mateo.

The kick-off meeting introduced the planning process and provided opportunities for community members to comment and share ideas on their vision for downtown. Attendees rotated through four stations where they were asked to: 1) Prioritize opportunities /enhancements for downtown, 2) Make suggestions about the elements currently missing from downtown, 3) Identify their mode of getting to, from and around downtown, and 4) Recorded interviews, at the final station, provided an opportunity for attendees to share their stories, ideas and most enthusiastic wishes for downtown. Watch the video on the city’s YouTube channel to hear what people are saying.

The Taste and Talk Forum featured a panel of planning and economic development professionals who shared ideas on the

components for creating a vibrant downtown. Their collective experience provided a wealth of ideas to consider for San Mateo’s downtown including an active public realm, access to transit, balancing housing and office near transit, focusing on ground floor activity, and encouraging opportunities for events and entertainment. These and other factors are ingredients that help to create a downtown destination for all.

Join the Discussion

The San Mateo community is encouraged to join the discussion and share your ideas about the future of our downtown! Think and envision what you would like to see in Downtown 20 or 30 years from now!
There are multiple ways to participate:

  1. Come to a community event! The next one is on Monday, March 29th at 6 pm San Mateo Main Library (Oak Room).
  2. Visit the project website www.engagedowntownsanmateo.org to learn more, find out about upcoming events, check out summaries & videos of past events, and other resources related to this community planning effort.
  3. Take the survey on the city’s online engagement platform, Speak Up San Mateo, available on the city’s website. The survey will guide you through exercises similar to the station exercises at the January 23rd community kick-off event. The survey is available through March 22nd.
  4. If you have questions, reach out to project staff by emailing downtownplan@cityofsanmateo.org.
@VolunteerSource Challenge Logo
Community, Volunteering

Take the @VolunteerSource Challenge

 

Diverse hands holding the word volunteer

#VolunteersHaveHeart. During the month of February share your love for volunteering with the City of San Mateo.

As the calendar turns to February thoughts of love and affection enter our minds. During this time, many of us are inclined to express our most loving sentiments, and the City of San Mateo wants to encourage this behavior.  As such we call upon our volunteers during the month of love and invite you to enter the @VolunteerSource Challenge.

This is your chance to share and tweet about your love for volunteering. There are a variety of ways to express your love. You can write a short message or poem about volunteering (140 characters or less). Share a picture of you giving back to your community. Or, create your own artwork expressing your love for volunteering. We’ll post the winners on Twitter the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1, 2017, so make sure you are following @VolunteerSource! And, three of you will win a pair of movie tickets.

How to enter:

Option 1: Follow @VolunteerSource on Twitter

Tweet about your love for volunteering, tag @VolunteerSource and include
#VolunteersHaveHeart

Option 2: Email or text your entry to volunteersource@cityofsanmateo.org

Get started with these winning examples!

  • Volunteers don’t have more time, we just have more heart! #VolunteersHaveHeart
  • It’s always a doggone great day when I volunteer at the Peninsula Humane Society! Charles P. winner 2016
  • Show me a person who spends endless hours in training, and I’ll show you a volunteer. Casia R. winner 2016
  • Meet friends old and new. Volunteering Rocks! #VolunteersHaveHeart

Deadline for Entry

The deadline to enter the @VolunteerSource Challenge is February 28, 2017. Don’t delay ~ love is fleeting, share it while you can. Visit the city’s website for more information about the volunteer challenge.