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May 16, 2007

CITY OF HANFORD MAKES FINAL VOTE TO IMPLEMENT COMMUNITY CHOICE

Hanford, CA -The Hanford City Council has elected to take the final steps to proceed with Community Choice, a regional power program for the San Joaquin Valley. After five years of diligent work, the council members voted unanimously Tuesday, May 15, to complete the final agreements and terms to implement the program.

“This program is all about choice; choice for the customer and choice for our city. The Council’s actions allows for customers to have that choice in electrical generation,” said Thomas Haglund, Deputy City Manager of Hanford and Chair of the San Joaquin Valley Power Authority.

Implementation is expected to start in November 2007, serving all municipal facilities within the Community Choice service area. The program would be fully operational, offering the benefits of the program to all customers within the service area, by November of 2008.

The Program will not start until at least 9 of the 14 Authority members determine the financial objectives of a 5 percent discount in initial generation rates and stable, predictable costs are met.

As the municipal facilities become customers of Community Choice, the facilities will experience cost savings, which translate to cheaper operational costs for the cities. This savings will be passed on to the citizens in the jurisdiction of the participating municipalities offering a double cost savings on both municipal and electrical bills after full implementation.

The City of Hanford’s own accounts will benefit by a savings of approximately $500,000 in the first three years. Based on customer load data, savings for the participating citizens within the City of Hanford would be approximately $7 million in the first three years.

David Orth, Kings River Conservation District’s (KRCD) General Manager and the Authority’s Program Manager, said, “KRCD is please to see the City Council of Hanford demonstrate strong leadership in moving forward with what has been said to be the most innovative energy program this region has ever seen.”

KRCD has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop up to 400 megawatts of renewable generation capacity to support the Program, with an emphasis on local, renewable projects, which can be sited within the San Joaquin Valley. Response to the RFP is due May 25, 2007, and the initial response has been robust with interested parties representing over 500 megawatts of local capacity.

Orth said, “We hope to further fulfill our goal of adding value to this region by spurring investments in local generation, particularly renewable energy projects.”

The citizens of the City of Hanford will be able to take advantage of the Community Choice benefits once the program comes on line including:

  • Cost savings, totaling $780 million for the region during a 20-year period;
  • Stable and predictable rates for customers;
  • Increased generation reliability in the central San Joaquin Valley;
  • Opportunity to choose an energy provider;
  • Regional empowerment to make decisions and plan for our future regarding energy issues that affect our businesses and residents; and
  • Value added to the region through the development of new, local renewable energy projects (solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, etc.).

The Authority was formed in November 2006 to develop and conduct electricity-related programs for the region. The member agencies include Kings County, cities of Clovis, Corcoran, Dinuba, Fresno, Kerman, Kingsburg, Lemoore, Hanford, Parlier, Reedley, Selma and Sanger. Tulare County is expected to join the Authority at the Authority’s next scheduled meeting on May 31, 2007.

California Assembly Bill 117, passed in 2002, allows cities and counties to combine the electrical loads of their constituents for bulk electricity purchases. An opt-out structure is provided for customers that choose to continue buying power directly from the investor-owned utility. For customers participating in a Community Choice program, the local utility company will continue to deliver the electricity purchased by the regional Community Choice program through its wires and will also continue to provide meter reading, billing and maintenance services. For more information about the Authority's program, visit www.communitychoice.info.

The Kings River Conservation District is a public agency that serves agricultural, business, and community residents within 1.2 million acres in portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties since 1951. KRCD is a leading resource management agency in the areas of water, power and the environment for the Kings River service area. For more information about KRCD, visit www.krcd.org.

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