In 2002, the California Legislature enacted a law authorizing the formation of community choice aggregations (CCA), which are non-profit agencies that allow local governments to vote to join together to procure electrical power directly from alternative power suppliers. By law, the CCA-provided power is delivered to customers using the existing utility infrastructure responsible for providing electricity in that area; in our area, that’s SoCal Edison (SCE).
The CCA pays SCE for delivery, metering, billing, and customer service. Benefits of well-operated CCAs include a higher amount of renewable power offered at lower or competitive pricing than that offered by the utility. Under state law, utility customers in a participating service area are automatically enrolled in the CCA unless they opt out. Anyone opting out receives power purchased by SCE only.
Any two or more cities can form a CCA. As more cities and customers join, demand for clean power increases, allowing the CCA to negotiate more competitive rates, which can bring energy prices down. As of January 2023, 25 registered CCAs were serving more than 14 million customers in over 200 cities and counties in California.
The OC Power Authority, the CCA in our area, was formed in November 2020 and currently has four member cities: Fullerton, Buena Park, Huntington Beach, and Irvine. Service to commercial customers began in April 2022 and to residential customers in October 2022.
Below are price and renewable comparisons between SCE and OCPA pricing as of May 31, 2023, showing an average monthly bill of a household using 569 kWh and including all fees:
- SCE Basic Rate (33.2% renewable) is $210 –––compared to––– OCPA Basic Choice (62.3% renewable) is $208
- SCE Green Rate (50% renewable) is $195 –––compared to––– OCPA Smart Choice (100% renewable) is $214
- SCE Green Rate (100% renewable) is $180 –––compared to––– OCPA Smart Choice (100% renewable) is $217
Note that the SCE Basic rate is slightly more expensive and provides a lesser renewable energy mix than the OCPA Basic rate. Although SCE Green rates seem a bit lower than OCPA rates, a note on SCE’s website (see below) informs the public that the 50% and 100% tiers are not currently available, and those wanting that level of renewable energy can sign up on the waiting list in place since January 2023.
“The volume of interest for the 50% and 100% Green Rate programs has exceeded the capacity available from approved Green Rate resources. In the 4th Quarter of 2022, SCE launched a new request for offers for additional generation to support the increasing interest in the Green Rate program. Until new Green Rate resources are contracted, otherwise ordered, or authorized by the Commission, SCE will maintain a waitlist of customers interested in participating in the Green Rate program. As capacity becomes available, SCE will enroll customers onto the Green Rate on a first-come, first-served basis.”
For more information or to be added to the waitlist, email email@example.com.