A: Community Choice Energy (CCE), also known as Community Choice Aggregation, enables local governments to leverage the purchasing power of their residents, businesses, and governmental entities to purchase or generate power for their communities. Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002, establishing CCE. There are currently 19 CCEs in operation today with many more in the process of forming statewide.
Q: What are the benefits of CCE?
A: With CCE you have options. Where currently most customers can only purchase their electricity through Southern California Edison (SCE), a CCE customer will have three options: stay with the CCE’s 100% renewable electricity product, opt down to a 50% renewable product at the same rate their current SCE rate OR opt out of the CCE and stay with SCE.
Additionally, CCE allows local governments to support their local energy goals by choosing where their local power comes from as well as allowing them to set locally relevant rates and reinvest any budget surpluses into the local community through potential programs, rebates, and projects.
Q: How do I enroll in CCE?
A: Under AB117, the law that enables CCE programs, all customers within the City of Santa Barbara will be automatically enrolled into the CCE. This was written into the law in order to support the viability of CCE programs.
Q: Is the City taking over the electrical distribution system?
A: No, the City is only taking over the purchasing of electricity. Your electricity will still be delivered to you over SCE’s power lines.
Q: Will anything be different during a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) or a transmission related outage?
A: In any PSPS situation (whether as an SCE customer or a CCE Customer) SCE will de-energize certain vulnerable circuits and will not deliver power to those specific areas. Since the City is not purchasing or taking control of SCE’s poles and wires, this situation, along with unscheduled utility outages, would remain the same as before CCE.
Q: Will my bill change?
A: If you remain with the 100% renewable electricity default product your bill will increase slightly, by approximately 6-9% (an average of $5-8 per month). However, if you opt down to the 50% renewable product your bill will stay the same as it was with SCE.
Q: I’m on a low income program with SCE, is that still available to me with the CCE?
A: Yes! SBCE will offer reduced rates to income-qualified customers so that their bills stay the same as they were with SCE.
Q: How can we go 100% renewable electricity if solar and wind energy only produce for part of the day?
A: The City is planning to purchase a combination of solar power and battery energy storage capacity to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goal, this will allow us to benefit from renewable energy throughout the day.
Q: Will the community have the opportunity to vote on whether to form a CCE?
A: No, because this is not a mandatory program (see about options above) it does not require a vote of the people but will require City Council approval.
Q: When will the CCE launch?
A: The City is aiming to launch in May of 2021
Q: Does the City have the experience to purchase the electricity for the City?
A: The City has contracted with California Choice Energy Alliance (CalChoice) and their roster of highly qualified subcontractors to provide expertise and management of the power procurement process, regulatory compliance and customer service functions.
Q: How many new positions will the City add to operate the CCE program?
A: Because of the City’s contract with CalChoice the City does not anticipate adding any City staff to operate the CCE program.