By Rebecca Band
Marin Clean Energy is up to its same old dirty tricks. The deceptively-named company has expanded its bogus program into the city of Benicia, and now Benicia residents are being enrolled in MCE without their consent – under the ironic guise of “Community Choice Aggregation.”
On Saturday, June 20, IBEW 1245 held an educational blitz in Benicia to make sure consumers know the truth about MCE, and help them understand their right to opt out if they want to continue receiving energy from PG&E. Ten organizing stewards and prospective stewards participated in the blitz; Mike Musgrove, Kristen Rasmussen, Rachel Ramirez-Hill, Ivan Pereda, Eric Sunderland, Nilda Garcia, Sandi Busse, Steve Marcotte, Serena Moss and Christine Raines, along with IBEW 1245 staffers Eileen Purcell, Hunter Stern and Jammi Juarez.
“With flyers in hand, we went door to door to speak with Benicia residents about their City Council voting for Marin Clean Energy as their electric service provider without giving them a choice,” Organizing Steward Nilda Garcia reported. “A majority of them had already opted out, but some people were not aware … and appreciated the fact that we were out informing the community about MCE.”
By the end of the day, the local 1245 team collectively had more 100 conversations at the doors, and provided the residents with information about MCE and the website where they could go if they want to opt out.
“This is important work – talking directly to electric customers about serious changes to the source and environmental impacts of the electricity they receive,” said Business Representative Hunter Stern, who has been working to expose MCE’s scam for several years. “Who better to provide the facts then the workers themselves and IBEW 1245?”
When MCE first came to Marin in 2008, the agency claimed it would use real green power and create local jobs, but the reality has been quite different. MCE actually buys most of its power from Shell Energy of Houston, Texas (a subsidiary of Shell Oil) and uses an accounting gimmick called “Renewable Energy Certificates,” or RECs, to make it seem green when it’s not.
MCE provides an energy mix that emits more greenhouse gases than PG&E from the same wires that PG&E customers receive, but they use marketing gimmicks to make it seem like it’s somehow better for the environment. Local environmental experts agree that RECs are simply a “feel good scam,” and concerns about “slamming” (the illegal practice of enrolling customers in a different service provider without their consent) have sparked concerns in every community that is considering or already using Community Choice Aggregation.
IBEW 1245 is committed to push pack against the deceptive scams being promoted by MCE, as well as CleanPowerSF and other companies seeking to take advantage of Community Choice Aggregation for their own financial gain. To learn more, visit www.StopTheShellShock.org.