Electric Switch

Del Mar residents are being automatically enrolled in electricity service from the Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) beginning May 1st. The cost of electricity generation will be less than the current supplier, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) unless you choose the 100% renewable Green Impact option, which is about $2/month more expensive than SDG&E for the average customer.


The default CEA product for Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad will be 50% renewable/75% carbon-free, a major improvement over SDG&Es current supply that is “39% renewable” (31% renewable with 8% carbon credits).


Those of us with rooftop solar and electric vehicles were concerned about how CEA would enroll SDG&E net metering customers. SDG&E does an annual “true-up” for net metering customers to determine if your solar panels put more electricity onto the grid during the year than you used (so you get a credit) or you drew more electricity from the grid than contributed (so you owe them for the difference). Because the annual “true-up” is based on the month you activated your solar system, it differs for each net metering customer.


The typical pattern of generation and usage for rooftop solar is that during summer months you generate extra energy that goes to the grid, and during winter months you use more power from the grid than you generate. If you have credits from the prior year, they offset the cost of electricity during the winter months. One option that CEA considered was to enroll net metering customers on their annual “true-up” date. The final choice was to enroll net metering customers in May at the same time as everyone else. The determining factor was that the exit fee charged to departing customers by SDG&E will go up July 1st, and that increase would have negative consequences for customers with large solar systems and seasonal consumption, particularly schools in the CEA service territory.


To offset any potential financial impact on net metering customers with “true-up” dates that influence their annual credit, CEA is reimbursing electricity put back onto the grid at 6 cents/kilowatt hour rather than the 2-4 cent rate from SDG&E. In addition, net metering customers can choose the 100% renewable Green Impact, an option not allowed by SDG&E.


My family has signed up for the Green Impact choice, so we now will be using 100% renewable energy generated either by our rooftop solar system or the CEA grid supply. This will roughly double our annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 9,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds for just electricity, the equivalent of 136 trees planted each year. Since we will be using 100% renewable energy to charge our electric car, we also will avoid an additional 8,400 pounds of carbon dioxide compared to a typical gas powered car driven 10,000 miles/year. Great choices for saving our planet—we hope that you agree.