Butte County, Chico considering new electricity system

Butte County and Chico are considering a move to a less expensive way of providing electricity to business and residents, after a feasibility study of the community choice aggregation concept shows promise and savings.

The option, approved by the Legislature in 2002, allows cities and counties to purchase power for their citizens from any source. That means locally, power could be purchased from more than just PG&E, and that flexibility would result in savings of 2 percent to 4 percent, according to the feasibility report prepared by EES Consulting.

At 2 percent, Chico and unincorporated Butte County residents and businesses collectively could save $4 million a year. If Paradise and Oroville were to join in, the savings would climb to $5 million.

Bill Gaines, founder of Transfer Flow aftermarket gas tanks, says: “As you know power costs continue to rise. While TFI isn’t a huge power consumer we spend well over $10,000 per month in electricity,” even with solar panels dotting the two buildings at the Chico Municipal Airport Industrial Park.

“If a manufacturing business is thinking of relocating to the north state, power cost is an important factor when deciding where to locate. Having a CCA in Butte County will help level the playing field when it comes to enticing new companies to build their plants in Chico, Oroville or Paradise. It will also increase the bottom lines for several existing companies. That sounds like a win-win to me,” Gaines said.

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