What is community choice energy?2021-07-27T09:00:58-07:00

Community choice energy (CCE) is a model that allows communities to purchase power to meet their electricity needs, offering an alternative to the traditional investor-owned utility (IOU) model. CCE programs can provide the communities they serve with competitively priced, clean energy choices while reinvesting revenues into projects and programs, supporting the local economy.

How do community choice energy programs work?2021-07-27T09:01:34-07:00

Community choice energy (CCE) programs are established by local communities, either through the creation of a multiple-agency partnership or new city or county department. While CCE programs are locally operated, they work in partnership with the region’s existing investor-owned utility (IOU). Through this partnership, CCE programs determine the source and procure the electricity while the existing utility company continues delivering the energy, maintaining the grid and providing billing services.

Do Community Choice Energy programs adversely impact the financial stability of incumbent investor-owned utilities (IOUs)?2021-07-27T09:19:44-07:00

No. Investor-owned utilities (IOU), such as San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), charge Community Choice Energy (CCE) customers a power charge indifference adjustment (PCIA) fee, also known as an exit fee, to cover the difference in the market value of energy resources that were already contracted on a customer’s behalf by the IOU and the cost of those resources.

Who’s in charge?2021-07-27T09:05:54-07:00

Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) is governed by a Joint Powers Authority made up of local elected officials who oversee decisions regarding power purchasing, programs and rate setting, and are directly accountable to the people who elected them. Each member city has equal voting power and meetings are conducted in an open, transparent manner, ensuring the public has a voice in the decision-making process. CEA is operated under the direction of a chief executive officer (CEO) appointed by the Board, with legal and regulatory support provided by a Board-appointed General Counsel.

What happens to the revenues?2021-07-27T09:08:29-07:00

Because Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs are locally managed, not-for-profit entities, any excess revenue is reinvested into the community through on-bill savings and innovative energy projects and programs, including rebates and other incentives, low-cost energy programs, job training and more.

Is participation in the Clean Energy Alliance mandatory?2021-07-27T09:17:24-07:00

Participation in the Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) is completely voluntary. However, as provided by law, customers have been automatically enrolled according to the anticipated schedule. All customers within the Del Mar, Carlsbad and Solana Beach service area have received information describing CEA and still have multiple opportunities to opt out and choose to remain full requirement (“bundled”) customers of the local investor-owned utility (IOU).

How will the formation of the Clean Energy Alliance impact the local economy?2021-07-27T09:18:30-07:00

The Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) has established a priority of supporting the local economy through local energy programs and local power development. CEA’s economic impact could be greater if the Community Choice Energy (CCE) invests in local distributed energy resources. Through incentive programs and direct investments, CCEs can create new demand for manufacturing, construction and installation of local distributed energy resources, leading to an increase in employment in those sectors. Decisions concerning investments in distributed energy resources, such as the construction of new community solar or battery storage projects, would be made by the CEA Board of Directors.

What will happen to Solana Beach Customers already enrolled in the Solana Energy Alliance?2021-07-27T09:24:48-07:00

Solana Beach has transitioned its customers from the Solana Energy Alliance (SEA) to the Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) in CEA’s launch in May 2021. Customers received a notice notifying them of the transition from SEA service to CEA service. Solana Beach is no longer operating SEA.

​Is the Community Choice Energy (CCE) model economically feasible? What would the potential ratepayer savings be?2021-07-27T09:52:28-07:00

A feasibility study completed for Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) shows that the Community Choice Energy (CCE) model is financially feasible and CEA has a stated goal of achieving a minimum 2% savings in energy generation costs compared to San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). Net revenues could be used for investment in local distributed energy generation, enhanced energy efficiency programs, additional support for low-income customers, energy storage, electric vehicle charging and other programs related to the CCE business model. The decisions regarding utilization of discretionary net income will rest with the CEA Board of Directors.

Will grid reliability change under the Community Choice Energy (CCE) business model?2021-07-27T09:50:37-07:00

Maintaining grid reliability is the function and responsibility of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). The CAISO will continue to perform this function under the Community Choice Energy (CCE) business model; therefore grid reliability will remain unchanged.

What is the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA)?2021-07-27T09:49:39-07:00

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) is an exit fee charged by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) to customers that choose another provider of electricity generation service through direct access or Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) like Clean Energy Alliance (CEA). The fee is designed to cover the difference in the market value of energy resources that were already contracted on a customer’s behalf by SDG&E and the cost of those resources.

For more information, take a look at our PCIA Fact Sheet.

Why does San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) charge the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA)?2021-07-27T09:48:07-07:00

The intent of the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) is to ensure that San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDG&E) remaining customers are not burdened with costs associated with energy resources that were procured on behalf of departing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers. Current statute requires that remaining utility customers not experience any cost increase as a result of the implementation of a CCA program.

How is the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) calculated?2021-07-27T09:43:12-07:00

Currently, the methodology is complex and includes calculating the difference between the actual costs paid by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and the current market value of those energy resources, or above market costs. In addition to conventional power, the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) includes benchmarks for resource adequacy, renewable energy, and other energy attributes that impact the value of the utility’s energy portfolio. The calculation methodology is intended to ensure that both utility and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers pay their fair share for energy resources that the utility procured on their behalf.

Do all departing customers pay the same amount?2021-07-27T09:41:37-07:00

No. Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) rates use the concept of “vintaging” to assign different sets of costs to different customers. Each Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) is assigned a vintage based on the month and year the CCA’s customers left utility service. PCIA rates are different between the vintages.

Does the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) ever go away?2021-07-27T09:40:53-07:00

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) continues until the last energy contract in that vintage expires.

Will the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) go down every year?2021-07-27T09:40:28-07:00

In theory, there should be less contracted energy in the customer’s vintage, however other variables affect the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), such as the market value of energy. In recent years, the market value of conventional energy, which is heavily influenced by natural gas prices, has declined. Additionally, renewable energy prices have declined. Both of these factors cause the PCIA to increase even though the contracted volume of the energy resource may be less than the previous year.

Why is the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) of concern to Community Choice Aggregators (CCA)?2021-07-27T09:32:27-07:00

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) directly affects a Community Choice Aggregator’s (CCA) ability to set rates competitive to the incumbent utility. The PCIA was initially conceived to prevent cost shifts between utility customers and direct access customers in 2001.

The issues with the PCIA are many:

  • Non-transparency
  • Lack of auditing of utility costs to determine accuracy
  • Does not incentivize the utility to minimize or mitigate costs
  • Leads to rate volatility
  • Does not prevent cost shifts as required by statute
What happens when demand exceeds “Clean Supply” of electricity?2021-07-27T09:28:48-07:00

Grid reliability is the responsibility of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), and this responsibility does not change with the implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program such as Clean Energy Alliance (CEA).

Why am I having trouble entering my San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) account number into the form on the Opt-Up, Opt-Out, Opt-Down and Return to CEA pages of the website?2021-07-27T09:27:54-07:00

If you are a San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) customer who has an 11-digit SDG&E account number, please enter two (2) leading zeros (0) before the start of your SDG&E account number, and eliminate the last digit, when opting up, opting out, opting down or returning to Clean Energy Alliance (CEA). This addition is required due to an SDG&E update. Your updated 13-digit SDG&E account number will be reflected in the SDG&E invoice you are to receive in April 2021.

Will SDG&E’s rate increases impact CEA customers?2022-10-21T16:23:46-07:00
  • SDG&E’s recently announced upcoming 1/1/2023 rate increase did not come as a surprise; Clean Energy Alliance and other regional CCEs anticipated this outcome.
  • Clean Energy Alliance controls the generation side of customers’ electricity bills: approximately 25 percent of the total cost. Clean Energy Alliance customers will be affected by SDG&E’s rate increases for transmission and delivery, the same as non-CEA customers.
  • Clean Energy Alliance is committed to providing customers rate stability by reviewing and setting rates just once per year.
  • Clean Energy Alliance’s rates will be considered in January 2023. Clean Energy Alliance fully anticipates being able to set generation rates that meet our goal of achieving 2% generation cost savings compared to SDG&E.
  • The Clean Energy Alliance Board of Directors oversees decisions regarding rate setting. The Board is made up of elected officials from its member communities who are directly accountable to the people who elected them. Open meetings ensure the public has a voice in decision-making.
  • Clean Energy Alliance is committed to an easy and transparent billing process. For more information about understanding your monthly bill, please explore our interactive sample bill.
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