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September 23, 2023

Zach Hilton: How our electricity provider benefits the community

What makes Gilroy strong is our community. With 59,520 people calling Gilroy home, our community is made up of families, neighbors, businesses, schools, service organizations, parks and more. However, there is one member of our community that may surprise you—our electricity provider.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is our community choice energy provider that was formed by Gilroy and 12 other communities in Santa Clara County in 2016 to provide clean electricity at competitive rates. Since 2017, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, or SV Clean Energy, has served our residents and businesses with clean energy while saving them money. In total, more than 93% of Gilroy residents and businesses served by SV Clean Energy have collectively saved more than $5 million on their electricity bills over the past five years. And this number will continue to grow as SV Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency that reinvests net revenues to the community through competitive rates, unique offers and services, rebates, community grants and scholarships. Their Board of Directors are made up of electeds from each community, and I have been our appointed Gilroy representative since 2021.

You may be thinking, what about PG&E? Don’t I receive my energy bill from PG&E, not SV Clean Energy? That is correct. SV Clean Energy works with PG&E to power Gilroy. Together they help get electricity to our homes and businesses—from source to switch. The journey starts with electricity generated from clean and renewable resources procured by SV Clean Energy. In fact, SV Clean Energy has agreements with 16 clean energy projects, most of them new builds, that provide valuable jobs and economic investments in communities throughout California and the west. PG&E then delivers this electricity over their existing infrastructure of wires and lines while also handling maintenance and billing. Finally, this clean electricity flows to homes and businesses throughout Gilroy, benefitting residents with on-bill savings from SV Clean Energy and local control of Gilroy’s electricity.

With this local control, Gilroy residents and businesses now have the power to choose where their electricity comes from. You can decide if you would like to have the community provide your electricity through SV Clean Energy or opt-out and have PG&E provide both the source and delivery of your electricity. However, the benefits and bill savings with SV Clean Energy will not apply if you no longer receive electricity from them. Before SV Clean Energy launched there was no ability to choose your electricity provider.

In addition, SV Clean Energy is one of 25 community choice energy agencies serving over 11 million Californians across the state. Yet, what makes SV Clean Energy unique is its ability to serve the community based on Gilroy’s specific needs and directions.

Gilroy residents and businesses have exclusive opportunities to upgrade their homes and buildings for increased comfort and safety with support from SV Clean Energy. There are many rebates and incentives available for Gilroy residents to help upgrade their water heater and space heater to new and efficient heat pump technologies. These technologies can help add comfort to your home, are safer, and reduce local air pollution since they do not rely on being powered by methane gas. 

In addition, SV Clean Energy is also helping to keep Gilroy safe and clean for future generations. Since the start of SV Clean Energy, more than 575 million pounds of harmful air pollution have been avoided. Plus, SV Clean Energy is working to further reduce local air pollution by reinvesting in community programs to help more homes and cars use clean electricity.

As a part of our community, SV Clean Energy helps residents and businesses save money on their electricity bills, provides them with the power to choose where their electricity comes from, and offers resources to help residents and businesses in Gilroy be safer and more comfortable.

Zach Hilton is a Gilroy City Councilmember.

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