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Cotati joins Sonoma Clean Power

Cotati on Wednesday became the second city to join Sonoma Clean Power, which seeks to displace Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as the area's main electricity supplier.

The City Council unanimously voted to join the public power agency, saying it offered an alternative to PG&E.

“There was strong support for choice. We heard it over and over again from the community,” said Cotati Mayor Mark Landman.

Issues that surfaced earlier in the week over governance, voting rules and the amount of influence smaller cities will have in running Sonoma Clean Power are a “bump in the road,” Landman said Wednesday night.

“Cotati feels we have leadership to offer by being part of the solution to that, and by working with the county and cities — everyone involved with Sonoma Clean Power — to make this work best for everyone,” he said.

Cotati is a relatively small player, representing only 1.8 percent of the electric meters in Sonoma County.

Other than Cotati, only the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, representing the unincorporated areas, and the Windsor Town Council had voted to join the launch of the agency, which would purchase electricity from power providers. Together, they account for about 40 percent of PG&E meters in Sonoma County.

Santa Rosa, which represents about 35 percent of the electric meters in the county, is being heavily courted by the county to join Clean Power.

The Santa Rosa City Council is set to decide on July 9.

Of the eight cities being solicited by the county, Cloverdale, Rohnert Park and Petaluma have chosen not to join for now.

Advocates for Sonoma Clean Power said it will offer a choice to PG&E's monopoly, reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs and reinvest money in the local community.

Critics are skeptical of unforeseen costs and whether government should be getting into the public power business. They also question whether Sonoma Clean Power actually will use significantly more renewable energy.

(You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.)

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