By Pennell Paugh
May 4, 2022 (La Mesa) – On Wednesday, April 27, the City of La Mesa (the City) provided a virtual meeting between the public and San Diego Community Power (SDCP) and San Diego Electric and Gas (SDG&E) to discuss the new SDCP program.
In 2018, the City passed a Climate Action Plan. One of its goals is to reduce greenhouse gas by 53% in 2035. The City implemented several programs, including paving bike paths, recycling household food waste, planting trees and erecting electric docking stations. It is now joining with six area governments (San Diego County and City, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and Encinitas City) to offer services under SDCP.
SDCP and SDG&E have formed a partnership. SDCP will buy cleaner sources of power. SDG&E will continue to provide electricity to the region using SDCP’s brokered power. Together, they will provide cleaner power while providing local control and ensuring competitive rates.
In California, Community Choice programs have been established in 32 out of 40 State Senate Districts and 57 out of 80 Assembly Districts. Opting Out gives areas some choice to areas historically served by monopoly utilities.
SDCP was formed because monopolies are not motivated to invest in making customers happy. Its goal is to improve services and profit provided by SDG&E. The program also will help to ensure the City reach its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2035.
SDCP is a public agency and its meetings are open to the public. Information about the agency must be fully transparent. Currently, the program offers at least a 1% savings in its users’ bills.
Each of the seven governments in SDCP has two representatives on a community advisory committee. Their purpose is to advise the Board of Directors on the operations of SDCP in their communities. La Mesa’s representatives are Jon Derks and David Harris.
Among SDCP’s achievements since 2021 has been to sign four long-term renewable energy providers. The projects will generate a combined 340 megawatts of solar energy and 110 megawatts of battery storage designed to deliver power during evenings.
True-Up Month of La Mesa’s residents who elect to remain with SDCP will begin in May 2022. If you choose to stay in SDCP and you are a solar owner, the program will provide a monthly electricity bill at a retail rate. If you use more energy than you generate, you will be billed at the same retail rate. If there is a balance at the end of the year because you used less energy than you generated, SDCP will automatically compensate you $100 to $2500.
To help residents choose programs, SDCP provides a video that explains their bill and has an online bill estimator that compares their electricity costs if they transition to SDG&E or remain with SDCP.
SDG&E spoke briefly, stating they would be working in partnership with SDCP. SDG&E would be providing the metering, billing, and customer services, as well as delivery of electric services.