Switch to new power company to take effect
Last updated 3/17/2023 at 2:22pm
Whether or not area residents have heard or read about it, those who are customers of San Diego Gas & Electric will be getting a new source of power in April, unless they opt out. San Diego Community Power, a not-for-profit public agency which has been operating for three years in parts of the county, is expanding its service area to unincorporated areas beginning next month.
A locally run, not-for-profit public agency, SDCP is now going to be a new electric generation service provider in this area. It purchases renewable power, like solar and wind, and feeds it into the electricity grid, working with SDG&E to deliver it to customers at competitive rates.
While SDCP service is offered as an option, those who aren’t paying attention may miss the information that they will “be automatically enrolled into our service unless you opt out,” according to the 6” x 10” postcard that was mailed out to inform SDG&E customers of this change.
One resident said that since the postcard resembles countless other mail solicitations that consumers routinely throw away, he called SDCP and questioned their notification procedure. They would only say that they had indeed made the first mailing and were required to make one additional mailing in the near future.
And while they did provide their rates, they did not have SDG&E’s rates for comparison, so he had to look in his old bills and figure out that SDCP’s rates are higher than SDG&E’s rates, he said.
The service rep added that their not-for-profit public agency company was created as a result of AB-117 (which was passed by the state legislature in 2002), to allow for consumers “to aggregate their electric loads as members of their local community with community choice aggregators…if each customer is given an opportunity to opt out of their community's aggregation program. If a customer opts out of a community choice aggregator's program, or has no community choice program available, that customer shall have the right to continue to be served by the existing electrical corporation or its successor in interest.”
SDCP gets its electricity from suppliers that have gone through a rigorous qualification and selection process. These suppliers, much like SDG&E, get their electricity from a variety of generation sources. At a minimum, SDCP's default PowerOn option includes 50% renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectricity.
The optional Power100 provides electricity from 100% renewable sources such as wind and solar, at a higher cost.
All CCAs are required to meet the same reliability standards as investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E.
State law prevents investor-owned utilities like SDG&E from profiting on retail electric generation, so the benefits of cleaner and competitively priced power from SDCP comes at no cost to SDG&E or local jobs.
In fact, SDG&E will continue to maintain the grid, repair power lines, and provide its shared customers with one consolidated utility bill with SDCP electric generation charges and SDG&E electric delivery charges. The only change customers will see is new options for cleaner energy at competitive rates.
For more information on rates, visit https://sdcommunitypower.org/.
All SDCP customers remain SDG&E customers. SDG&E provides electric delivery, meter reading and billing services for SDCP customers. SDG&E will continue to send you just one electric bill, which will now include SDCP charges for electric generation service.
Residential or commercial accounts of SDG&E that switch to SDCP will still receive their bills from SDG&E with the SDCP charges identified.
According to its website, SDCP customers have the right to opt out from SDCP at any time once they are eligible for its service and will not be charged any fees by SDCP if they opt out or if they cancel electric service altogether.
If a customer does decide to return to SDG&E after the 60-day opt out period (60 days from their start date with SDCP service), SDG&E will charge a one-time Customer Re-Entry fee of $0.56 for each account returning to full-bundled SDG&E service. The customer will also be prevented by SDG&E from returning to San Diego Community Power for a minimum of 12 months.
From the SDCP website: The process is mandated by state law, but as a consumer-choice-driven organization, residents always have a choice who they decide to work with for electricity generation. While SDCP believes its combination of competitive rates and cleaner energy is the best choice for healthy communities, customers can opt-out of SDCP service at any time by calling 1-888-382-0169, emailing [email protected] or going to https://sdcommunitypower.org/your-choice/opt-out/.
Rick Monroe contributed to this article.