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Community Power letters coming in mail to San Diego residents

Chula Vista and San Diego are among local cities switching over to the energy provider.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — If you live in the cities of San Diego or Chula Vista, you may have received mailers recently about "San Diego Community Power."

Other areas like Imperial Beach and La Mesa have already made the switch, with more cities doing the same in 2023.

CBS 8 has received questions from you with questions about the new power provider.

"I guess, first of all, how is it going to affect me in terms of rates? Right? So, that's the first thing rates," asked Steve De La Torre.

He and other area residents have been receiving fliers about San Diego Community Power.

He reached out to CBS 8 wanting to know more about San Diego Community Power, including what it means for solar customers like himself.

"I mean, nothing's well known about them and what the effect is going to be on the consumer, not just solar consumers, but other consumers as well," said De La Torre.

So, what is San Diego Community Power?

It's a community choice aggregator or CCA, a program available within the service areas of investor owned utilities, in this case, SDG&E.

It allows cities to purchase and or generate electricity for residents and businesses.

The California state legislature voted in 2002 to allow for CCA's.

They initially became popular in Northern California, and are now popping up here in our region.

"The intent when the legislation was passed was to give customers a choice,” said Bill Carnahan, interim CEO of San Diego Community Power.

He explained while they will be providing the energy, SDG&E will take care of the rest, like billing and infrastructure to get that energy to your home, so CCA customers will still get an SDG&E bill, but with a line that reads ‘CCA Electric Generation.’

So, what's the difference?

The base rate energy San Diego Community Power is providing is more renewable than SDG&E.

"Right now, they're delivering on their base rate about 31% renewables and we're at 50% renewables. And we also offer 100% rate as well, where we will guarantee you 100% renewable energy deliveries," said Carnahan.

Not only that, but Carnahan says San Diego Community Power is a locally controlled non-profit, which offers competitive rates, slightly cheaper than SDG&E.

"We're actually about a half a percent to a percent below. But, we do have a much higher quality product. So, if you look at the value of what that payment is, it's a much greater value," said Carnahan.

They do offer time of use rates, which are listed on their website.

If you're a solar customer, like De La Torre, you'll transition to San Diego Community Power's net metering program at the time of your annual true-up with SDG&E.

If you produce excess electricity, San Diego Community Power's compensation rate is based on SDG&E’s true up monthly rate, plus three quarters of a penny per kilowatt hour.

Keep in mind, state rules require if your city is enrolled in a CCA program, all residents are automatically enrolled unless you opt out, which means you'd go back to SDG&E.

Imperial Beach made the switch in February.

  • March: La Mesa
  • April: Encinitas
  • May: Chula Vista and San Diego
  • 2023: National City and San Diego County

All residents must be given both a 30 and 60 day notice, hence those flyers in the mail.

CBS 8 asked Carnahan: "To the naysayers who say, well, they're new, SDG&E has been around forever. They know what they're doing. I mean, what do you say to people who have those hesitations?”

“Well, we actually would tell them that they shouldn't be too quick to pull the trigger and make that decision and go back to SDG&E. They can go back any time. So, we're saying let us prove ourselves," said Carnahan.

SDG&E says they support San Diego Community Power and are committed to working collaboratively with them.

For more information about San Diego Community Power, click here.

WATCH RELATED: Widow receives $1,257 SDG&E refund but she believes she's owed more (March 2023)

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