When the Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) began providing electricity to Del Mar residents in May 2021, each account holder had the opportunity to “opt out” and to continue buying electricity from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Several residents and some city councilmembers voiced concerns about trusting a new entity to provide reliable service. That message apparently resonated with 171 account holders (out of the 3,059 in Del Mar), and they chose to stay with SDG&E for their power supplier (SDG&E manages electricity distribution and transmission for all customers). Based on the average savings of $1.40 per month had they stayed with CEA, from June 2021 through May 2022, customers that stayed with SDG&E paid an average $16.80 more for that 12-month period, and in aggregate $2,872.80. They paid more to purchase dirtier sources of electricity, with SDG&E currently at 31% clean sources versus 50% clean, 75% carbon-free (mainly hydroelectric power) from CEA.
The most recent generation rates would appear to give a slight financial edge to SDG&E, but the California Public Utilities Commission is investigating their under-collection of revenues and a rate increase is likely to take place in January 2023. In April of 2023, CEA will begin serving customers in San Marcos and Escondido, increasing the number of accounts from 66,000 to 160,000. This increased customer base will provide some economy-of-scale benefits in power purchase agreements that should allow CEA to continue to provide cleaner energy at a lower cost than SDG&E to all customers, including those in Del Mar.