FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers: Have questions about Community Choice or San Diego Community Power? Check out our FAQs on this page. You might find the answer you’re looking for.

If you don’t find the answer to your question, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-888-382-0169 during standard business hours (M-F, 9-5). They’re happy to help.

General

What is San Diego Community Power?

As a locally-run not-for-profit, San Diego Community Power (SDCP) is powering a cleaner energy for today and as a legacy for future generations.

SDCP is a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) committed to providing clean, renewable electricity choices at competitive rates and investing in innovative programs that benefit residents, businesses, the environment and the economy in our communities.

When customers enroll with SDCP, they help empower local control of electricity procurement decisions, reduce the carbon footprint associated with their electricity service, and help support the growth of local renewable projects. Rather than providing profits to investors, SDCP’s net revenue (after buying power and administrative expenses) can be used to help stabilize electricity prices, provide incentives for solar installations, support energy efficiency programs, and develop more local renewable energy sources in and near San Diego County. This will keep the electricity rates competitive and enable SDCP to invest in innovative, clean technologies and energy-related job training.

What is a Community Choice Aggregator?

Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) were enabled by the California Legislature in the midst of the energy crisis. They are designed to be part of the solution by allowing local communities to take control of the energy they buy and to address constraints on competition that contributed to the crisis.

Transparent, locally-controlled CCAs make energy markets less risky and protect taxpayers.  CCAs are succeeding all over the state with 23 programs already providing reliable, affordable and clean energy to local customers and delivering innovative reinvestment programs that benefit local needs and state Climate Action Goals.

How does it work?

  1. San Diego Community Power sources clean electricity from a wide range of renewable sources at competitive rates.
  2. SDG&E delivers that electricity via the existing infrastructure and sends you a single consolidated bill.
  3. All revenue from energy procurement is reinvested back into local renewable energy development, local job training and support programs for Communities of Concern.

When and where is SDCP service available?

San Diego Community Power will begin serving customers within the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, and San Diego in 2021.  To ensure a smooth transition, service will be rolled out in phases beginning with municipal customers in March 2021, commercial accounts will come online in June 2021, followed by the residential service launching in 2022.

What are the benefits of San Diego Community Power and Community Choice Aggregators?

San Diego Community Power offers many key benefits:

  • Customer-Driven Choice: CCAs were created to advocate for ratepayers by providing choice for the first time and shifting control of local energy decisions from profit-driven, investor-owned utilities into the hands of residents and businesses. Competition supports lower rates, increased transparency and a better overall customer experience.
  • Future-Focused: SDCP will offer tiered programs that provide cleaner energy for competitive rates, helping reach climate action goals and support healthier communities today and for the future.
  • Proven Path to Saving Money and Our Environment: There are currently 23 successful CCAs operating in 170 communities around California. As the second largest in the state, SDCP will provide the same reliable, affordable energy service as other CCAs from cleaner, sustainable sources.
  • Local Management, Investment and Jobs: As a locally controlled not-for-profit energy provider, SDCP will never be taxpayer funded and will support economic vitality by providing cleaner energy at competitive rates and funding local renewable energy projects. Clean energy employs more than half a million people in California; that’s five times more workers than all fossil fuel industries combined.

How much will SDCP services cost?

San Diego Community Power rates will be competitive with SDG&E’s for cleaner energy, offering you the opportunity to save money and the environment.

Will SDCP’s electricity services be as reliable as SDG&E?

Yes. All CCAs are required to meet the same reliability standards as investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E.

How clean will the SDCP offering be?

At its initial launch, SDCP will offer two (2) clean energy packages for customer choice. The packages will range from 50 percent to 100 percent from renewable sources, offering customers choice in saving both money and the environment. Over time, more programs will be introduced including carbon-free packages.

What Changes and What Stays the Same?

How will the launch of SDCP impact SDG&E?

State law prevents investor-owned utilities like SDG&E from profiting on retail electric generation, so the benefits of cleaner and competitively-priced power from SDCP comes at no cost to SDG&E or local jobs. In fact, SDG&E will continue to maintain the grid, repair power lines, and provide our shared customers one consolidated utility bill with SDCP electric generation charges and SDG&E electric delivery charges.  The only change customers will see is new options for cleaner energy at competitive rates.

When there's a power outage, will SDG&E fix our lines?

Yes. SDG&E will continue to provide the same level of service to San Diego Community Power customers as they provide to all their customers. SDG&E is responsible for maintaining transmission and distribution lines that deliver the energy we purchase. Please call SDG&E if you’re experiencing a power outage to restore power: 1-800-411-7343.

Do I get billed separately by San Diego Community Power?

No. You will continue to receive just one bill from SDG&E. San Diego Community Power’s charges for electricity generation are included as a line item on your utility bill. SDG&E will continue to charge for the transmission and delivery of electricity, along with a variety of other regulatory and program charges at the same rates they always have. There are no duplicate charges for electricity generation.

Why was I automatically enrolled into San Diego Community Power?

The process is mandated by state law, but as a consumer-choice-driven organization, you always have a choice who you decide to work with for electricity generation. While we believe the combination of competitive rates and cleaner energy is the best choice for healthy communities, you can opt-out of SDCP service at any time by calling 1-888-382-0169 or emailing .

Clean Energy Sourcing

How does San Diego Community Power procure clean and renewable energy?

San Diego Community Power will buy a higher percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources on the open market. Over time, SDCP will also invest in and build local renewable energy projects, as other more established CCA programs are now doing.

Companies that generate electricity are required by state law to identify their resources and file a detailed report on the content of their generated power. SDCP is also required to submit this information to state regulators to ensure compliance with the law. These reporting requirements allow us to be sure that our power procurement strategy supports clean and renewable energy. Moving forward, SDCP plans to procure steadily increasing amounts of renewable energy, including locally-generated power that develops our economy and provides jobs in our communities.

What are the sources of power for SDCP and where are they located?

San Diego Community Power gets its electricity from suppliers that have gone through a rigorous qualification and selection process. These suppliers, much like SDG&E, get their electricity from a variety of generation sources. At a minimum, our default PowerOn option will include 50% renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Our optional Power100 provides electricity from 100% renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectricity.

How much clean and renewable energy does San Diego Community Power provide? Is it enough to meet demand?

San Diego Community Power has purchased enough energy to ensure reliability and we are currently in a long-term process to build more renewable capacity. Over the next few years, San Diego Community Power will build a portfolio of diverse renewable energy sources and energy storage that will put us on a path toward powering all of our customers’ homes and businesses with carbon-free energy all day, every day. As a fiscally responsible organization without guaranteed cost recovery, we strive to provide our customers clean energy choices at competitive rates while prioritizing financial sustainability.

What is PowerOn?

PowerOn is our base-level electricity service offering a minimum of 50% renewable energy plus 5% greenhouse gas free. All customers will automatically be enrolled in PowerOn at launch, with the option of opting out and returning to SDG&E service or opting up to our Power100 option.

What is Power100?

Power100 is our optional upgrade program that provides 100% renewable energy for just a few more dollars each month.

What does carbon-free and renewable energy mean?

Also known as clean energy, carbon-free energy creates no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and comes from sources such as hydroelectric power. Renewable energy comes from resources that are naturally replenished and produce no waste, such as solar, wind, and geothermal. Unlike fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, and coal, which cannot be replaced (and produce GHG emissions), renewable energy regenerates naturally in a short period of time.

Resources such as wind, solar and geothermal, which do not produce greenhouse gases and naturally regenerate, are considered clean and renewable, while resources such as large hydroelectric and nuclear are considered carbon-free sources. SDCP currently supports clean energy from sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, large-hydro, and biomass.

What is the Greenhouse Gas Emissions factor of PowerOn and Power100?

  • PowerOn has an emissions factor of 0.192 MT CO2e/MWh.
  • Power100 has an emissions factor of zero.
  • Methodology (2021): OurPowerOn product is 50% renewable + 5% greenhouse-gas free for a total 55% carbon-free. The remaining 45% is from system, or market, power. We use the unspecified emissions factor from the California Air Resources Board Regulation for the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of 0.428 MT CO2/MWh (943 lbs CO2/MWh) for our system power, found in Section 95111(b)(1) of that report. While this value is outdated and likely does not represent the power mix currently on the market, it is the official emission factor for unspecified power. Result: 45% of 0.428 MT CO2e is 0.192 MT CO2e.

Leadership and Oversight

Why was San Diego Community Power formed?

San Diego Community Power was formed in response to our community’s desire for local control of our electric energy supply as well as the want for a different model of decision making. One that puts the communities in charge and is not being driven by shareholders without the community’s interests in mind. Local residents and businesses wanted competitive rates, from cleaner sources, and new customer programs.

Who runs San Diego Community Power?

As a locally-run not-for-profit, SDCP is essentially run by the residents and businesses of the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa and San Diego. All key decisions are made by the Board of Directors, who are local elected leaders accountable to their constituents, at open meetings. Leadership of day-to-day operations is managed by Interim Chief Executive Officer, Bill Carnahan, a highly experienced public utility and CCA executive.

How will the program be managed?

In September 2019, the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa and San Diego adopted an ordinance and resolution to form San Diego Community Power, a California joint powers agency. SDCP’s Board is comprised of elected representatives from each member’s jurisdiction which may expand as new communities in the surrounding area decide whether to join SDCP in the future. The Board is publicly accountable to SDCP ratepayers and hosts monthly Board meetings to establish policy, set rates, determine power options and maintain fiscal oversight.  As a public agency, SDCP is designed to be fully transparent with all meetings and information open to the public.

What does the Community Advisory Committee do and who is on it?

Members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) were selected by the San Diego Community Power Board of Directors following an application process. The CAC advises the Board on matters related to the operation of San Diego Community Power. A list of CAC members is available here.

How is San Diego Community Power financed?

San Diego Community Power is a self-sustaining organization financed exclusively by the payments received from our customers based on the electricity they consume. SDCP does not receive tax dollars and is bound to reinvest excess net revenue in keeping rates stable, investing in local programs, and building reserves.

Energy Sources and Goals

How much renewable energy will San Diego Community Power provide?

SDCP will provide much of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and small hydroelectricity—which do not pollute or produce greenhouse gases. Switching from conventional energy sources to renewable energy is the single most effective way to accomplish our communities’ climate action goals.

Does San Diego Community Power have a goal to reach 100% renewable energy?

Yes, SDCP has a goal to reach 100% renewable energy by 2035, or sooner, for all our member cities.

Will SDCP rely on unbundled renewable energy certificates to reach its clean energy goals?

No, SDCP will not use unbundled renewable energy certificates. In fact, on a statewide basis unbundled renewable energy certificates make up just one percent of CCA load and most CCAs do not use any of them.

Have other communities done this before?

Cities and counties throughout California are already moving forward with similar programs. There are currently 23 operational Community Choice Aggregator programs (CCAs) in California, and that number is estimated to grow, with a combined service area population of 18 million. For a full list of California CCAs, please visit CalCCA.

Am I in San Diego Community Power’s service area?

All residents and business located in the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa and San Diego are included in SDCP’s service area. For those not currently in the service area, the service territory may expand. If you’d like to your city to consider Community Choice in the future, contact your City representative.

How do I know when my service begins?

All customers will receive a minimum of four notices by mail advising them of their enrollment in San Diego Community Power before anything changes. We’ll begin serving municipal accounts and select businesses in March 2021. The rest of the businesses in our service territory will be enrolled in June 2021 and residents in our territory will be enrolled in the beginning of 2022.

Are SDCP customers required to have an SDG&E SmartMeter?

San Diego Community Power provides electricity generation, while SDG&E owns and maintains the distribution system (“the grid”), which includes meters. SDCP does not have any control over whether or not our customers receive or require Smart Meters from SDG&E.

Billing

I still receive bills from SDG&E. Am I an SDG&E or San Diego Community Power customer?

All San Diego Community Power customers also remain SDG&E customers. SDG&E provides electric delivery, meter reading and billing services for SDCP customers. SDG&E will continue to send your electric bill.

Will San Diego Community Power be adding on any additional costs to my bill?

No, SDCP electric generation charges will simply replace what you previously paid for SDG&E electric generation. SDCP is simply replacing a portion of your bill, not adding on anything additional.

Do I get billed separately by San Diego Community Power?

No. You will continue to receive just one bill from SDG&E. San Diego Community Power’s charges for electricity generation are included as a line item on your utility bill. SDG&E will continue to charge for the transmission and delivery of electricity, along with a variety of other regulatory and program charges at the same rates they always have. There are no duplicate charges for electricity generation.

Why am I being billed by San Diego Community Power?

When you purchase electricity, you pay for two major components: the creation (also known as the generation) and the delivery (known as transmission & distribution). San Diego Community Power manages the generation of your electricity and SDG&E handles the delivery along with other fees and charges just like they always have.

How does my bill change if I’m a customer of San Diego Community Power?

Customers continue to receive one consolidated bill including all the same charges. The only change will be a line item for SDCP energy generation which will take the place of SDG&E charges.

How do San Diego Community Power’s rates compare to SDG&E?

San Diego Community Power’s rates will be competitive with SDG&E for cleaner energy, offering customers a chance to save money and the environment.

I’ve heard that SDG&E is charging an additional fee—an exit fee—for customers who leave. What’s that about?

That’s the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment or PCIA, sometimes called an “exit fee.” The PCIA is intended to ensure that customers who switch to San Diego Community Power pay for energy that was contracted by SDG&E to serve them prior to their switch. It will appear on your bill as a separate line item in the SDG&E Electric Delivery Charges section of the bill. What’s most important to know is that SDCP’s rates—even with the PCIA charge included—will still be competitive with SDG&E’s rates.

Will San Diego Community Power bill me for gas charges?

No, SDCP is focused solely on electricity. You will still receive your gas bill from SDG&E.

Can I still participate in the Level Pay Program?

You will continue to receive your gas and electric delivery charges from SDG&E under the Level Pay program. However, your electric generation charges from San Diego Community Power will not be included as part of the Level Pay calculation and will vary from month to month depending on your usage. Therefore, you may see some variance in your monthly bills.

Can SDG&E raise delivery fees on San Diego Community Power customers above those of non-SDCP customers?

No. SDG&E must provide the same transmission and distribution rates for all customers in their service area, regardless of whether they receive electricity from SDG&E or a Community Choice Aggregator program such as San Diego Community Power.

Are SDG&E programs available to me as a SDCP customer?

Yes. The California Public Utilities Commission authorizes SDG&E to collect fees (called public goods charges) from all customers to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy incentive programs. SDG&E still collects these fees from San Diego Community Power customers, so you remain eligible for these incentives and services.

Can I still participate in the SDG&E SmartRate program?

No. SmartRate is a program offered only to SDG&E generation customers. However, SDCP customers can sign up for a similar service through companies that offer demand response programs, or until SDCP creates its own program. The California Public Utilities Commission maintains a list of these companies.

Do SDCP customers receive the California Climate Credit?

Yes. The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change.  The credit is a state government program requiring power plants and other large industries emitting greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits from auctions managed by the Air Resources Board.  The credit on your electricity bill is your share of the payments from the State’s program.

Am I able to access the same discount programs with SDCP?

Yes. In addition to providing clean energy at a lower cost, San Diego Community Power customers are able to take advantage of the same discounts offered by the investor-owned utility and the State of California (CARE, FERA, LIHEAP, Medical Baseline), as well as your utility provider’s employee and retiree discounts. SDCP strives to make electric generation charges affordable to all, regardless of income. There is no need to reapply with San Diego Community Power. New enrollments or renewals must still be done through SDG&E’s customer service website or by calling SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343.

Is the renewable energy in my SDCP service transmitted directly to my home or business?

San Diego Community Power buys and builds cleaner electricity sources. This electricity is fed onto the statewide shared electric grid and then moves down the path of least resistance to customers. This is why accounting is important. Clean energy is accounted through contracts and renewable energy certificates that confer the “renewable attributes” of that energy. It needs to work this way because individual electrons can’t be routed from a wind turbine to a particular house that just signed up for green power without building a new transmission line directly from the source to the home. SDCP, just like SDG&E, reports power purchases to the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission so you can be sure that we are putting cleaner electricity onto the grid on behalf of our customers.

Enrollment

Why was I enrolled in SDCP’s generation service?

The process is automatic as mandated by state law, but as a consumer-choice-driven organization, you always have a choice who you decide to work with for electricity generation. While we believe the combination of competitive rates and cleaner energy is the best choice for healthy communities, you can opt-out of SDCP service at any time by calling 1-888-382-0169 or emailing .

Can I opt out of San Diego Community Power?

Yes. San Diego Community Power is driven by consumer choice and consumers will always be able to decide who they want to purchase their power. Customers can opt-out online or by calling 1-888-382-0169 or emailing

Is there a fee for opting out of SDCP?

There is no charge for opting out of San Diego Community Power before or within the first 60 days of service. You always have the choice to return to SDG&E or SDCP’s bundled service. You can opt out on our website or by calling 1-888-382-0169. You can also learn more about opting out here.

Can I return to SDG&E after the first 60 days of service with SDCP?

Yes. You can request to opt out of SDCP at any time. However, customers who opt out after the first 60 days of service with San Diego Community Power will be prohibited by SDG&E from returning to SDCP for one year. SDG&E will also charge a one-time processing fee upon returning.

Can I re-enroll in San Diego Community Power if I previously opted out?

Yes. If you opted out of San Diego Community Power within the first 60 days of service, you can return to SDCP at any time. Call us our local contact center at 1-888-382-0169 Monday through Friday between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST or visit our website to re-enroll.

However, if you have opted out after the first 60 days of service, SDG&E will charge you a one-time processing fee and requires you stay with their bundled service for one year. Once that year is up, you may re-enroll in SDCP for electric generation services online or by calling our local contact center at 1-888-382-0169.

What service product will I be enrolled in?

If you are a resident or business in the city of Encinitas, you will be enrolled in our Power100 product of 100% renewable energy. You still have the option to opt-down to our PowerOn product of 50% renewable energy or opt-out if desired.

For our other member cities of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, and San Diego, you will be enrolled in PowerOn. If you’d like to receive 100% renewable energy, you can always opt-up to our Power100 service.

Commercial

How are commercial rates schedules structured?

San Diego Community Power’s commercial rate schedules are designed to parallel your utility provider’s rate schedules, and apply to generation-related charges only. This includes time-of-use and NEM rate schedules.

Solar

Does San Diego Community Power offer a net energy metering program for qualified solar electric and other distributed generation systems?

Yes, SDCP does offer a net energy metering (NEM) program for existing and new customers that install solar systems or other generating systems. Existing NEM customers will be enrolled into our service starting February 2022. For customers that are new to NEM, please contact SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343 or at netmetering@sdge.com to initiate the interconnection process. ​If you are an SDCP customer now and are close to finishing the interconnection process with SDG&E, you may participate in our NEM program before February 2022.

Our NEM program functions similarly to the utility’s program except we settle and bill monthly to avoid large bills at your true-up. An optional yearly settlement and billing is available by contacting us.

As an incentive for generating clean electricity, customers that are producers of excess electricity as measured in annual net kilowatt-hours (kWh) at the end of their 12-month relevant period will be compensated at our Net Surplus Compensation rate. This rate is based on SDG&E’s True Up Monthly rate plus a $0.0075/kWh adder.

What happens if I’m a Net Energy Metering 1.0 or 2.0 customer and switch back to SDG&E?

According to SDG&E, changing service providers has no effect on rate schedules or NEM interconnection. This includes both customers being automatically enrolled into and those that opt out of SDCP.  Customers will not need to reapply for interconnection when they change service providers as they are still under the same (1.0) interconnection agreement regardless of the electricity service provider. However, SDG&E may make changes to NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 parameters in the future.  For more information regarding SDG&E’s NEM program, visit sdge.com.

Programs

What is a Feed-In Tariff and how do I know if I qualify?

SDCP will have a Feed-In Tariff program set up early in 2021 that allows projects in the size of 1 megawatt (MW) to be placed within our territory. More information will be available soon.