CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy title=
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy
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Source: Community Environmental Council

As most of you know, Community Choice Energy is launching here in Santa Barbara County in October. Now we need YOUR help to make sure it succeeds! There is a lot of misinformation going around, especially on sites like Nextdoor, and we need you to help correct it when you see it to ensure our community is receiving the best possible information.

As a recap: Community Choice Energy programs are designed by the community for the community. They offer a new way to get cleaner electricity to local homes and businesses and provide greater local control on how that electricity is sourced. Community Choice Energy programs procure cleaner power and work in partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE), which are still responsible for billing, transmission, and distribution of energy. This unique partnership allows you easy and affordable access to clean energy!

When a Community Choice Energy program launches, all customers are automatically enrolled in the new program, allowing them to get the benefits of more renewable energy and access to new rebates and programs to make clean energy technologies more affordable. If you want these benefits, no action is needed on your part.

The main benefits include:

  • Cleaner electricity with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Competitive electricity rates
  • Local control and local accountability of our energy provider
  • New opportunities for local renewable energy projects and high paying, union jobs
  • Opportunities for greater local resilience
  • Faster progress toward local climate goals

Read on to learn more about the two programs launching in Santa Barbara County. You should be receiving notification by mail if one of these programs affects you. We encourage you and your neighbors to stay opted in.

Program 1: The City of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Clean Energy (SBCE) will begin serving customers in the City of Santa Barbara in October 2021, and will offer 100% carbon-free electricity to all customers for a small premium. Customers can also opt down to a 50% carbon-free electricity supply at a similar rate to the current provider, Southern California Edison. SBCE customers will also have access to new programs that are in development.

Program 2: Other Areas of Santa Barbara County

In January 2021, Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) started serving Northern Santa Barbara County including the Cities of Santa Maria, Guadalupe, and Solvang. (They also serve many cities in San Luis Obispo County and further north).

In October 2021, 3CE will extend service to the South Coast Santa Barbara region, including the Cities of Goleta (read the press release here), Carpinteria, and unincorporated areas.

3CE offers lower rates than PG&E/SCE and has a commitment to reaching 100% renewable electricity through long-term renewable energy and storage contracts by 2030. That's 15 years before the 2045 100% carbon-free electricity goal set by the State of California.

3CE customers are also able to access programs to save thousands of dollars on clean energy technology, such as:

  • Electrify Your Ride – Electric vehicle rebates of up to $5,000 and up to $2,400 for an EV charger and electric panel upgrade.
  • 3CE is also expanding programs to help customers electrify their homes and businesses, electrify diesel agricultural equipment, add battery storage, and more.

 

Take action by spreading the correct information.

Refer to the FAQs above when sharing information to your networks. The City of Goleta official press release is another great resource. Also, feel free to send this email to anyone in your contact list who has questions.

Have more questions that aren’t answered below? Send them to us! Email Michael Chiacos, CEC's Energy and Climate Program Director, at mchiacos@cecmail.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ‘Community Choice Energy’?

Community Choice Energy (CCE) allows local governments to take over the buying of power for their communities. These are local programs that prioritize the environment by buying clean, carbon-free energy on our behalf and then reinvesting it into the community. There are over 26 Community Choice Energy programs around California and over 30% of Californians are served by them.

Why are local governments doing this?

The City of Santa Barbara has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, and many other cities have their own sustainability goals. Getting 100% clean energy into our community is an important first step to get there.

How is this different from our current energy system?

Currently, customers only have one choice of a monopoly energy provider, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in North Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County, and Southern California Edison (SCE) in the South Santa Barbara region. These are investor-owned companies, meaning they are beholden to shareholders and are committed to providing profits to their investors. Community Choice Energy programs give us a choice in who buys our power, while directing profits back into the community (instead of to investors).

Will this increase power outages?

No. SCE will still maintain the poles and wires. As a customer, you probably won’t even notice a change. In fact, your bill will still come from SCE. The Community Choice Energy program is just taking over the power contracting to align with climate goals and generate local revenue and community resilience.

Will this lead to more or less PSPS events?

Since local governments are not in control of SCE’s poles and wires, safety shutoffs and unscheduled utility outages will remain the same. However, a major goal of these Community Choice Energy programs is to invest in local energy resilience (which includes renewable energy and battery banks) and will therefore look to help local area residents and businesses establish this infrastructure at their homes and places of work.

FAQs related to Santa Barbara Clean Energy

Why should I trust the City to buy my power?

The City has contracted with a company called CalChoice to provide expertise and management of the power purchasing process. CalChoice provides a similar service for 9 other local Community Choice Energy programs. These programs are having great success throughout the state in creating local programs and incentives for all kinds of climate work.

Will my bill go up?

The City of Santa Barbara's Community Choice Energy program defaults its customers into its 100% Green product, which is 100% carbon-free. This greener, climate-friendly electricity does come at a slight premium (about $5 per month for your home) but is much cheaper than fully outfitting your house with solar panels. Should you choose to, you can also opt down to the Green Start product, which is at least 50% carbon-free and costs the same amount that you've typically paid Southern California Edison.

What do I need to do to sign up?

Nothing. All customers are automatically enrolled in the new Community Choice Energy Program and will stay that way unless they take steps to opt out. Because most of the community enrolls in the new program together, Community Choice Energy is a very powerful program to increase renewable energy, gain access to new rebates and programs, and help our region meet our climate goals. By staying opted in, you support a local program that aligns with local climate goals and keeps decision-making local.

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Jim Phelps Sep 12, 2021 07:50 AM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

Has anyone checked the URL and title legitimacy for this story "CEC CLEARS UP MISINFORMATION ABOUT COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGEY”?

ENERGEY?

The story lists Michael Chiacos as CECs (California Energy Commission) “Energy and Climate Program Director,” however, review of the CEC staff directory — https://www.energy.ca.gov/contact/commissioners-offices-and-divisions-contacts/staff-directory — does not list Michael Chiacos (nor Danny Ettelson, the alternate contact "for immediate assistance").

Also, City of Santa Barbara signed up for community choice energy program that is managed by CalChoice. CalChoice is operated and managed by City of Lancaster, whose technical consultants at Pacific Energy Advisors were largely responsible for enactment of AB 1110 — California’s truth in energy advertising legislation -- after the massive greenwashing that occurred during its consultation at Marin Clean Energy (MCE) where dirty power was rebranded and sold to consmners as “clean energy.” Looks like someone at Santa Barbara failed to do any homework. …and we wonder why this state is such a mess?

a-1631495873 Sep 12, 2021 06:17 PM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

I believe he works for the Community Environmental Council. That’s the CEC part. Interesting the new providers aren’t putting out info to clarify. This press release does nothing to clear up anything. Vague talking points are not going to sway anyone. Santa Barbara has many actively involved citizens that pay attention to what our local government does, and know how to participate in the conversation. That is why every time a new development or change is In the works there are many hearings, meetings, committees, and ample time for public participation. Except this time. Wonder why that was? Consultants recommended outreach should begin 9 months prior to the roll out with a notice with additional follow up notices and public meetings. But 3CE thought a junk mailer 60 days before taking over our contracts was enough notice. Oh yes and one evening webinar. Sorry not buying it. I opted out.

mp805 Sep 12, 2021 10:23 AM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

Had no idea it was being managed by CalChoice but after digging into the city of Santa Barbara Action plan there it is.....https://californiachoiceenergyauthority.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/sbce_v1.pdf

Babycakes Sep 12, 2021 10:43 AM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

Most people who are aware of the ability to opt out are doing just that: opting out. I agree with the person who said that the info sent out to "clarify" the program is due to the flood of folks opting out. In turn, the clarifications are making it abundantly clear that the program has not and probably will not be run very well. They say the extra cost will be about $60/year, but that's only the start for the program. My guess is that by year 3 the costs will go well over $100/year, and it will go up yearly from then on. I don't understand why it costs more to "go green", which is similar to organic foods that don't use hormones/additives/pesticides .... you would think the price would be less if they don't have the added expense of the hormones/etc. I'm not paying a cent more for "organic" or "green" as it means nothing to me, and to a LOT of others who are opting out of this boondoggle of a program to line the pockets of yet more eco-shills.

PitMix Sep 14, 2021 08:50 AM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

Because it is easier to keep doing what we are doing like Babycakes, I predict an extinction event in the next 100 yrs, or at least the collapse of the current military industrial complexes masquerading as republics. It's not going to be pretty. Thank goodness I was born long ago and won't have to defend my castle against marauders.

Jim Phelps Sep 13, 2021 08:40 AM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

Has anyone checked the URL and title legitimacy for this story "CEC CLEARS UP MISINFORMATION ABOUT COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGEY”?

ENERGEY?

The story lists Michael Chiacos as CECs (California Energy Commission) “Energy and Climate Program Director,” however, review of the CEC staff directory does not show Michael Chiacos (or Danny Ettelson, the alternate contact "for immediate assistance"). Also, City of Santa Barbara signed up for community choice energy program that is managed by CalChoice. CalChoice is operated and managed by City of Lancaster, whose technical consultants at Pacific Energy Advisors were largely responsible for enactment of AB 1110 — California’s truth in energy advertising legislation -- after the massive greenwashing that occurred during its consultation at Marin Clean Energy (MCE) where dirty power was rebranded and sold to consmners as “clean energy.” Looks like someone at Santa Barbara failed to do any homework. …and we wonder why this state is such a mess?

a-1631584267 Sep 13, 2021 06:51 PM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

I won't bother to check any more of your "facts," but CEC is the Community Environmental Council, which employs Mr. Chiacos.

https://resource.cecsb.org/cec-people/michael-chiacos/

The CEC was founded in 1970. I have gotten advice from them, and am very thankful for the work they do!
Here's it's history:
https://resource.cecsb.org/about/our-mission/

It's easy to search for information online!

sbdme Nov 30, 2021 03:13 PM
CEC Clears Up Misinformation about Community Choice Energy

I haven't recieved any of the letters. On Nov 8 I recieved a postcard advising me that in October I would be a SBCE customer automatically. I'd need to opt out if I wanted to stay with SCE. Well, this notice was 2 months too late. I opted out that day. I then got a bill 10/19 to 11/17 considerably higher than my SCE bill. My opt out won't submitted on 11/8 won't go into effect until 12/18. Great, I get to pay another month of higher. You are opted automatically into 100%.

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