Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

Recently, Santa Barbara Clean Energy, the City’s green energy community-choice aggregator, shared an announcement from Southern California Edison stating that Edison had raised its electricity rates. Unfortunately, that rate increase coincided with the launch of Santa Barbara Clean Energy thereby causing some confusion when customers reviewed their bills.

Santa Barbara Clean Energy charges are not additional charges to what customers previously paid Edison, instead they replace Edison generation charges that were already charged to customers.

Edison’s rate increase is specifically related to the infrastructure needed to deliver power to homes and businesses and applies to ALL customers in Santa Barbara (and the entire Edison service area). It’s based on the increasing costs of updating poles, wires, and other infrastructure to prevent wildfires and modernize their grid.

Santa Barbara Clean Energy provides customers with green energy, and Edison delivers the electricity. This is shown on every electricity bill under procurement and delivery rates. Santa Barbara Clean Energy procurement rates are staying the same.

Santa Barbara Clean Energy’s mission is to offer customers green energy options with continued reliable electric service to achieve our community’s ambitious climate goals. This is particularly important because local electricity use accounts for over 20% of Santa Barbara’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

For more information about the Santa Barbara Clean Energy program, the various clean energy choices, programs and incentives, frequently asked questions and more, please visit www.SBCleanEnergy.com or call (805) 897-1979.


City of Goleta Addresses Concerns Regarding Southern California Edison’s Rate Increase
 
Central Coast Community Energy Generation Rates Remain Unchanged

Update by the City of Goleta

Residents and businesses may have noticed an increase in their electric bills in the last month. The increase is due to Southern California Edison’s increase in its transmission and distribution rates and is NOT related to the City’s new electricity provider Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE).

On October 1, Southern California Edison (SCE) raised its transmission and distribution rates for all customers. These increased rates, which typically account for approximately 2/3 of an average household’s monthly electricity costs, were reflected in customers’ bills starting in November, and will amount to a monthly increase of approximately $10 per average household. The increased rates are tied to SCE’s need for continued grid infrastructure development and hardening to prevent wildfires and accelerate grid modernization. For more information visit www.sce.com/bill_change.

Also in October, all Goleta electricity customers were enrolled in CCCE service. CCCE is now in charge of electric generation (how and where our electricity is generated), a cost that typically makes up approximately 1/3 of an average household’s monthly electricity costs. SCE will no longer charge customers for electric generation (how your electricity is generated), but SCE will continue charging customers for transmission and distribution (how your electricity is delivered). CCCE electric generation charges now appear on your SCE bill as a separate line item. Those enrolled with CCCE are now shared customers: SCE provides and charges for transmission and distribution, CCCE provides and chargers for electric generation.

Despite SCE rates going up, CCCE has not raised its electric generation rates. In fact, a visit to SCE’s rate comparison page demonstrates that CCCE generation charges are lower than SCE generation charges. Currently, Goleta electricity customers who are not enrolled with CCCE are paying higher generation rates, combined with the recent increase to transmission and distribution rates.

Along with 32 other Central Coast communities, the City of Goleta joined Central Coast Community Energy to access greater control of our electricity needs and to support the growth of clean and renewable energy. Doing so provides our residents and businesses with economic and environmental benefits.

If you have additional questions, you can contact CCCE by calling 888-909-6227 or emailing SouthSupport@3CE.org. To learn more about CCCE and attend upcoming webinars, visit https://3cenergy.org/2021-enrollment/.

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a-1639161146 Dec 10, 2021 10:32 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I have read this statement four times and still cannot get what is trying to be said. This is exactly my experience with every written statement put out by SBCE it seems. They, at best, foggy and at worst disingenuous. Are they saying that the increase is applied to every bill and therefore does not affect the choice to select SBCE or SCE? If so, just say so. And, by the way, SCE is doing serious work to replace infrastructure in my area. Every few months an old pole is being removed and it seems that work on the relay stations is also happening. We need to pay for this and I am glad to do my share.

a-1639223794 Dec 11, 2021 03:56 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

When I emailed them with questions, they responded promptly, within the same work week, in 2-3 days. But this was before the program went into effect. I'm sure they get more questions now.
(Yes, I get any objection, my County boss would've kicked my butt if I didn't respond to a customer immediately. I was merely a clerk.)

Online, they show up here:
https://sustainability.santabarbaraca.gov/faq/

Try this:
Santa Barbara Clean Energy Customer Service
info@SBCleanEnergy.com | 805-897-1979

CLK29 Dec 10, 2021 11:16 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

An additional cost that IS new, however, on my bill is listed under "CCA cost responsibility surcharge": PCIA 378kWh x $0.02505 = $9.47. Everywhere the advertising has told us the additional cost would be "about $5". So, yeah... just double that?

a-1639164464 Dec 10, 2021 11:27 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

As best I can discover the CCA is a charge to cover losses incurred by SCE before the departure of some to the new choice providers. The idea was to share the make up charges that they got the benefit of before leaving. If this is so it seems fair.

a-1639168137 Dec 10, 2021 12:28 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

This is the problem with these newly created CCAs. They have nothing to do with infrastructure needed to transmit power. They are simply an added bureaucracy that procures power supposedly “ greener energy”. But SCE currently procures power from greener sources. SCE sucks and CCAs regardless of which one you were auto enrolled in , do nothing to fix our existing problems with SCE.

ginger1 Dec 10, 2021 01:02 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I just spent (another) hour analyzing my first SBCE bill compared to previous SCE-only statements. First, the message from SBCE is indeed a little disingenuous, if not wordy and unclear. It is a FACT that there is an additional assessed charge, PCIA of $.025. However, even including that fee the total (delivery+procurement) charges are not significantly more or less than before the change-over to clean energy. What IS driving the additional bottom line "pay this" is:

1. SCE delivery rate INCREASE
2. SCE "non-by-passable charges" (their fees to cover the burned down forests, homes and their infrastructure maintenance) This is a GOOD thing. It's too bad we have to pay for their years of neglect but they are actually spending the money to fix things. Finally.
3. Your first "clean energy" bill comes along with revised "winter rates" INCREASE

So yes, your bill is higher. But it actually has *nothing to do with changing over to "clean energy."* By my calculations, the REAL net costs to my household (we have solar and the solar credit is now higher) will actually be LESS than if SCE was the energy provider. So less greenhouse gas emissions from dirty fossil fuels, a little help to save the planet from the Climate Crisis and a net cost of ZERO. And I'd be fine with the originally advertised $5 more to save the world, anyway.

PS: This relates to SBCE, which only applies to SB City customers. I did not do a rate comparison as it would apply to CCCE (aka 3CE, the rest of SB County.) You folks should check out their rebates and incentives for electric cars and bikes and solar.

a-1639214058 Dec 11, 2021 01:14 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I much appreciate your analysis, Ginger. I have not done my own.

I will pay to support alternative/green energy. I've had "free" solar for several years now, through a Power Purchase Agreement.
I don't have last year's figures at my fingertips, but I got a rebate from SCE, of course. I've spent very, very little on electricity for the last two years.
My SCE bill last month was a credit of $19.

Last year's credit for solar power was about $200. I pay SCE for infrastructure.

I realize my figures mean nothing if I can't provide a penny by penny yearly accounting. I got my solar system because I thought it was the right thing to do. Savings are a by-product, and I do not yet have storage batteries. I prepare for disasters the same way we've been taught for decades. I can live without power longer than those dependent on cell phones.

I am pleased to pay, if necessary, more for solar power to support its use and make a point while doing so. I mean, if the increase is $5 or even $10 a month, how many coffees or lunches out is that?! One or two days' worth?!

What is a solar PPA? https://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-power-purchase-agreements

benround Dec 10, 2021 01:19 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I suspect 'thou dost protest too much'. I am suspicious of any entity that constantly is telling me how much good they are doing for me. Has anyone ever tried to read all the fine print that comes with any of the self promoting information that 3CE sends out? If it takes that much verbiage to protect you from what you say then it probably isn't worth saying.

a-1639214357 Dec 11, 2021 01:19 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Have you ever read the entire Terms of Service of any application you use or website you visit? Do you own a cell phone? The same is true of every app and site we contact in this day and age (whether we use it or not). If you don't know this, I fear for your online safety.

citizenSB Dec 10, 2021 03:36 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I opted out of SBCE-- SCE seems to be moving very quickly to solar and wind, so why change?
My plan next year is to add my own solar and I do not need SBCE in the middle. As soon as the cost goes down I will add battery backups and get completely off the electrical grid.
Bottom line is I really do not trust anything that the city/county is involved with.

yacht rocked Dec 10, 2021 03:40 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

SCE doesn't make very much money on electricity. They make it on infrastructure, like poles, transformers and wiring. They get to depreciate these (ie write them off their taxes) on schedules and then keep them around for extra years and decades, which costs them nothing - but you are still charged for it. When they replace a pole the cycle starts again. This is another reason they are investing so much in 'the grid' - because it's profitable!

Byzantium Dec 10, 2021 04:21 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I fear SBCE is as good as the time they are still getting taxpayer subsidies. Solydra promised the moon and spent money like ever-flowing water. Then poof all that "investment" was gone in a puff of smoke and a dry till bankruptcy. Going off the grid with solar cells and several storage walls will cost around $30K. Not sure how many days the storage will last an average household, or how little energy is produced on overcast days. Anyone know more specifics?

Pete Stronzo Dec 10, 2021 08:30 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Is it coincidental that SCE implemented their significant delivery and distribution surcharges at the same time when nascent Community Choice Energy consortiums were sending out their first bills for actual energy use?

jak Dec 11, 2021 05:10 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

It probably is. The price increase is driven by the cost of maintaining and upgrading lines and other delivery infrastructure. Which in turn is driven by the need to be able to provide power on windy days without setting the place on fire.

ginger1 Dec 10, 2021 10:48 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Thank you, City of Goleta. Here's the much shorter version:

Your electric bill went up last month. But it had nothing to do with either CCCE or SBCE. (County and City programs, respectively.) It's because SCE raised their part of the bill. It's because of a change to winter rates from summer rates. It's because you're indoors more and using more electricity because it gets dark earlier. Winter. That's all it is.

The "green energy sourced" co-ops just get and buy (and help develop and build) the power and do it sometimes even at lower costs than the shareholder-owned for-profit utilities. SCE maintains the grid delivery infrastructure. You've seen them at work all around the town. That takes money and so we pay. The new CCA Power Company is a shared project of the electric utilities, the green energy managers, local governments, and the customer. No one's out to rip you off. There's no conspiracy to do anything other than help you help with the Climate Crisis. Maybe even save money sometimes.

See the Wikipedia article. Note that 11 million of us in CA and millions more in 8 other states are freeing themselves of the invertor-owned utilities. In CA there are 64 cities/county CCA programs that provide 100% green renewable energy to their member/customers, many of them have built local solar or wind generating facilities. Which means more jobs, too. It's a pretty good deal and it is the future.

SB Neighbor Dec 11, 2021 07:16 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

The PCIA fee is charged by SCE to CCA customers to cover the cost of energy contracts and infrastructure for which SCE contracted on behalf of its customers. These are long term investments. When CCA customers withdraw from SCE's service area, SCE is still on the hook to pay for these obligations, at least for some period of time. Therefore, the cost of these obligations is embedded in the SCE customer bill; they are specifically called out on the CCA customer bill in the form of a PCIA charge.
Theoretically, this PCIA fee should eventually drop off of the CCA customer's bill as SCE divests itself of these prior obligations; I hope the PUC is watching to ensure that SCE does not allow the PCIA charge to continue indefinitely.

SCE specifically timed its distribution rate increase to coincide with the launch of SB Clean Energy. This is no coincidence; rather, it is intended to make it appear that SCE provides a better deal and to encourage CCA customers to "stay within the fold." Dirty politics.

sbbeachguy Dec 11, 2021 07:27 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

What I find completely disingenuous is that SCE and PG&E are fighting tooth and nail to disallow net metering (by adding huge surcharges) for rooftop solar through the PUC. More info and an opportunity to sign a petition to Governor Newsom to keep rooftop solar benefits at https://p2a.co/ws1lhtQ.

dukemunson Dec 11, 2021 08:14 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

What I find funny is all the people who thought that adding this additional layer of bureaucracy would bring bills down (or at least stay the same). It was humorous to the point of being truly nonsensical. We’re going to provide more and better with the same lines and infrastructure for less money.

Byzantium Dec 11, 2021 10:20 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Installing more fire resistant transmission poles is an expected utility subscriber expense, no matter the source of the electricity being transmitted. Long overdue. So it now shows up now on everyone's utility bill. Public utilities work best as tightly regulated as non-profit public service entities, as initially intended. Sacramento oversight may have dropped the ball, so this also comes under the duties of out elected local representatives.

ginger1 Dec 11, 2021 12:25 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

The CA PUC (Public Utilities Commission) has failed to advocate and regulate for energy consumers. It is another political football. The electric companies are by definition *investor-owned utilities*. They exist to make profits for their shareholders. Hence the original reason for regulation by the PUC. Clearly, that did not work. And now we all pay extra for infrastructure maintenance because SCE/PG&E failed to do that as part of their "rate structure" in the past.

CCA (Community Choice Aggregators) like SBCE and 3CE are *consumer-serving energy providers* regulated by local governments with consumer involvement and by a new set of laws and guidelines (varies among the 8 states doing this) that provide for a great deal more transparency than ever before. Unfortunately, the *company managers * aren't so good about communications, but they try and are learning. Amazingly, you can pick up the phone and speak to a human who actually knows what they are talking about. Email works, too. Try that with SCE or PG&E and get back to us.

Learn more about CCA generally: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Choice_Aggregation
Learn more about your project managers: SB City: SBCE: https://www.sbcleanenergy.com/
SB County not city customer: CCCE (aka: 3CE): https://3cenergy.org/

RHS Dec 11, 2021 12:40 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

I agree with both Byzantium (and Ginger to a lesser degree) on this. We are better served by a regulated public utility than by the rapacious free enterprise buccaneers and we have been misserved by the PUC which was supposed to protect the public from bad actors but feel prey to bribes and flattery and help with their political futures from the same people they were hired to control. That doesn't mean we can't reinvigorate the PUC and get good results from it. Allowing the "free market" to put its nose under the tent will always lead to Enron like disasters. The CCA program offers nothing that a properly regulated energy sector would not do better. The CCA industry is seemingly a scam to get a "taste" of the money for itself. A "taste" of the public utilities expenditure in CA is immense of course. Let's go back to the simple version and get the PUC doing what it was created to do.

ginger1 Dec 11, 2021 01:25 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

The PUC cannot be reinvigorated. A "properly regulated" energy company is an oxymoron. At least here in CA. There are few states that have been very successful with that model and their regulations result in a not-for-profit government-controlled utility company. Our PUC is a political oversight board that does not do anything like that.

The "free market" investor-owned utilities don't work for the consumer, and just look at the disasters they have brought us.

You wrote: "The CCA program offers nothing that a properly regulated energy sector would not do better." Sure, a properly regulated SCE/PG&E *could do* what CCAs are doing. They were given that choice and chose not to. The state regulatory authority has failed the citizens, over and over again. Our CCAs are all about taking back control and working for the sake of the consumer/end user. And, by the way, no one associated with our CCAs is making a dime from this. In fact, will be operating at a net loss for perhaps 5 years. All in the effort to transition to renewable green energy and to help save the planet and, actually, save us money. Not-for-profit vs. investor-owned. Big difference.

a-1639293630 Dec 11, 2021 11:20 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Thanks! Nope. I'm not a lobbyist or employee. Just well informed and pissed off at SCE for their years of ripping me off (paying me a fraction of the value of my excess solar power going into *their* grid) and dragging their feet with maintaining their infrastructure, resulting in forest fires, burned homes, lost lives and now, their CYA (cover your....) PSPS ( "public safety power shut-offs.")

CCAs are the answer to real, honest for-the-public utilities. Our particular CCAs are focused on that, plus sourcing sustainable, green energy. There's more to come. Like community shared solar/battery microgrids. No worries about PSPS, the power is generated and stored in your neighborhood, for your neighborhood. All of this works to secure safe access to electricity while reducing dependence on fossil fuels, helping address the Climate Crisis, creating jobs, and even saving the end-user a few bucks. Probably. Maybe. We'll see. It's all good.

a-1639367903 Dec 12, 2021 07:58 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Byz, how does this fit in with paying the utilities' bills for setting fires and for the San Bruno gas explosion liabilities? Honest question, I know how complex it is.

Watcher237 Dec 11, 2021 01:37 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Every new changes has inherent problems and challenges, which usually are worked out just fine during the next few months. Let's watch this thing for at least 6 months, maybe even a year, before making a final decision about the value (or lack thereof) it truly brings us. Chill.

Byzantium Dec 12, 2021 09:04 PM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

7:58 -- Don't we elect local representatives to ensure we have proper management of public services? Take this up with Senator Limon and Assemblyman Bennett - they are in Sacramento working on our behalf. I believe that is why we pay them generously and hold them accountable at election time. Perhaps they have been ignoring local priorities.

yacht rocked Dec 13, 2021 06:58 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

For City of SB, the City Council is the responsible political organization over SBCE. For the County South Coast, it's Das Williams who sits on the board of 3CE along with Kyle Richards, City Councilman from Goleta.

PitMix Dec 13, 2021 09:33 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

Things I don't like about the City program:
Recent bill with SBCE was $30 higher than previous bills.
9/2020 delivery charge by SCE was 10.6 Cents/kwhr
11/2021 delivery charge by SCE is 15.6 cents/kwhr, 50% increase.

Other questions still not anwered:
When the Thomas Fire threatened the power lines in our area, SCE brought in generators as backup. Can SBCE do this?
Does SBCE have contracts to meet all of the demand during very hot days in the summer? Or very cold days in the winter? Or are they buying electricity on the spot market which means they could be gamed by the new Enron and we could be on the hook for $1000s just like happened in Texas?

SantaBarbaraObserver Dec 13, 2021 09:56 AM
Electricity Bill Increase Tied to Delivery Rates

It's a privatized, for profit play built on the backs of public infrastructure and awash in a sea of "green" propaganda. Profits built in for the people who created and run this program on the false pretense that its an "environmentally friendly" path, when instead it adds costs and multiple layers of bureaucratic friction. Another fine example of our government publicizing risk while privatizing profits.

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