Julie Johnson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
They’re called “superusers” within the power industry, those electricity customers using as much as 200 times the amount of energy in a month than a typical household.
Some of them have big estates, horse stables or electric cars. A small number are older mobile home parks operating on one utility meter. Most are likely growing marijuana indoors, local power agency officials said.
Last year, these “superuser” customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties with monthly electric bills as high as $20,000 started to disappear.
About 300 homes using the most power in the region closed their accounts or dramatically decreased energy consumption in May and June of 2018, according to Sonoma Clean Power, the area’s green power agency. Although small in number, the loss of these major customers contributed to an unexpected $10 million drop in revenue and expenses last year, agency CEO Geof Syphers said.
After scrambling to figure out why these customers were disappearing, power agency officials determined they corresponded with a marked shift in where marijuana is and isn’t being grown in the region and state, he said.