Monterey County Now
As many as 300,000 ratepayers on Central Coast of California could see a significant drop in their electricity bill for the months of May and June.
To help reduce the financial pressure on local communities due to the virus outbreak, Monterey Bay Community Power is considering a two-month deferral of 50 percent of customer generation charges.
Customer bills are made up of two main components. Generation charges are set by MBCP, which is a government agency representing nearly all ratepayers in Monterey and nearby counties. Transmissions charges belong to Pacific Gas & Electric, and they would not be included in the deferral.
The proposal would save ratepayers an estimated $22.4 million for those two months. The lost revenue would be collected from future bills in small increments with some taken from other parts of the agency’s budget.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been swift leading to significant financial hardship on residents and businesses of all sizes,” the agency’s staff wrote in a recent report. “What MBCP can offer may not be sufficient to keep individuals or corporations afloat, however, coupled with actions by federal, state and local government, MBCP’s quick response to the crisis can provide additional relief that many in our communities need.”
The staff report also says that the deferral plan would also boost the agency’s own credit-worthiness, likely earning it an “investment-grade credit rating” by August. A better credit rating puts MBCP in a position to negotiate lower energy prices from power plants in the future.
A vote on the proposal will take place on Monday, April 13, when the MBCP’s Policy Board of Directors convenes for a special meeting.