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New CCA line on electric bill shocking some San Diegans

For the most popular residential CCA program, the peak winter rate is 12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) where the peak rate in summer is 40 cents per kWh.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — People all over San Diego are seeing a new line item on their hefty summer SDG&E bills and don’t know what it is. For the past several months CBS8 has been looking into all those charges and we break down the numbers

Scott Hutchison was stunned when he opened his SDG&E bill yesterday and it was $578.23. He says it’s typically $350 a month in the summer for his 1140-square-foot condo in Rancho Bernardo. He, like people all over San Diego, are opening their summer electric bills with a new and unknown line item: “CCA Electric Generation”. 

When asked him if he knew what the charge was for, Hutchinson said, “I don’t know. It says electric delivery [is] $324 and CCA electric generation [is] $224.22. I don’t know.”

CCA stands for Community-Choice Aggregator. That means Hutchison and customers around San Diego, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Encinitas are buying electricity from San Diego Community Power (SDCP) unless you opt-out. 

CBS 8 reached out to SDCP and spoke with CEO Karin Burns. She explained their existence this way: “Instead of buying power through SDG&E, the power is being purchased through SDCP and there is not a dramatic charge or change in the cost.”

As for that hefty “CCA Electric Generation” line item on people’s bills? Burns says it’s not an additional charge, it’s a replacement charge. 

So why is Scott’s bill and others’ bills so much more than usual? Burns says because summer rates are so much higher. She explains that for their most popular residential program, the peak winter rate is 12 cents per kilowatt hour. A peak rate in summer is 40 cents a kWh. She explained that SDG&E customers might have a slightly lower bill than their customers right now because of a temporary rate cut by SDG&E.

She says, “There might be a 1% slight reduction because they just changed their rates by 1% compared to SDCP for a few months. And then they've already indicted their rates are going to go back up again and significantly more in the future.”

It’s true. Just this spring CBS8 reported on SDG&E’s proposed double-digit rate hike for 2024. Burns says, if customers “opt out’ they have to wait a year to get back in. Scott opted out after he opened his bill yesterday. He did want to know why he was automatically enrolled in a program he didn’t want or ask for. Burns says it’s the result of state legislation. She says because they are providing cleaner energy as part of the state’s overall climate action plan, customers are automatically enrolled unless they opt-out.

Here are some ways from San Diego Community Power for you to try to lower your electric bill during summer.

Here’s a link to SDG&E to help understand how to read your bill with that CCA line in it.

At CBS 8, we are always Working for You and our San Diego community. If there is something you would like us to look into, please share your idea here or email us at workingforyou@cbs8.com.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego Community Power rolls out in select cities May 1, 2022:

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