FAQs

FAQs2020-12-01T15:36:59-08:00
What is community choice energy?2020-11-18T12:28:54-08:00

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 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?2020-11-30T15:00:00-08:00

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. 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 CCE programs adversely impact the financial stability of incumbent investor-owned utilities (IOUs)?2020-12-03T12:18:13-08:00

No. IOUs, such as SDG&E, charge 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?2020-11-18T12:29:51-08:00

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 CEO appointed by the Board, with legal and regulatory support provided by a Board-appointed General Counsel.

What happens to the revenues?2020-11-18T12:30:10-08:00

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.

When will the Clean Energy Alliance launch?2020-11-18T12:30:26-08:00

Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) plans to roll out its service offering to all eligible customers beginning in May 2021.

Is participation in the Clean Energy Alliance mandatory?2020-11-18T12:30:43-08:00

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

How will the formation of the Clean Energy Alliance impact the local economy?2020-11-30T15:01:31-08:00

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 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?2020-11-18T12:31:17-08:00

Solana Beach intends to transition its customers from the Solana Energy Alliance (SEA) to the Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) during CEA’s launch month of May 2021. Customers will receive a notice notifying them of the transition from SEA service to CEA service and any rate or service impacts. Once its customers are fully transferred to CEA, Solana Beach will no longer operate SEA.

​Is the CCE model economically feasible? What would the potential ratepayer savings be?2020-11-30T15:02:57-08:00

A feasibility study completed for Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) shows that the CCE model is financially feasible and CEA has a stated goal of achieving a minimum 2% savings in energy generation costs compared to 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 CCE business model?2020-11-30T15:06:42-08:00

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 CCE business model; therefore grid reliability will remain unchanged.

What is the PCIA?2021-03-08T10:42:45-08:00

The PCIA is an exit fee charged by 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 SDG&E charge the PCIA?2021-02-08T18:15:54-08:00

The intent of the PCIA is to ensure that SDG&E’s remaining customers are not burdened with costs associated with energy resources that were procured on behalf of departing 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 PCIA calculated?2021-02-08T18:16:27-08:00

Currently, the methodology is complex and includes calculating the difference between the actual costs paid by SDG&E and the current market value of those energy resources, or above market costs. In addition to conventional power, the 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 CCA customers pay their fair share for energy resources that the utility procured on their behalf.

Do all departing customers pay the same amount?2021-02-08T18:16:52-08:00

No. PCIA rates use the concept of “vintaging” to assign different sets of costs to different customers. Each 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 PCIA ever go away?2021-02-08T18:17:28-08:00

The PCIA continues until the last energy contract in that vintage expires.

Will the PCIA go down every year?2021-02-08T18:18:02-08:00

In theory, there should be less contracted energy in the customer’s vintage, however other variables affect the 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 PCIA of concern to CCAs?2021-02-08T18:23:08-08:00

The PCIA directly affects a CCA’s 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?2021-03-16T14:54:57-07:00

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 program such as Clean Energy Alliance.

Why am I having trouble entering my SDG&E account number into the form on the Opt-Up, Opt-Out, Opt-Down and Return to CEA pages of the website?2021-04-15T15:45:09-07:00

If you are an 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 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.

Go to Top