Encinitas set to join regional Community Choice Energy program


The Encinitas City Council unanimously voted to enter a Community Choice Energy program with cities including San Diego, Chula Vista and La Mesa.

“We’re about to run through the ribbon with our arms up,” Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said moments before the council’s vote at its Sept. 11 meeting.

The vote culminated a nearly four-year process the city undertook to evaluate its options to offer local residents and businesses a Community Choice Energy program, which would provide an alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric.

The program would begin in 2021. SDG&E would still deliver the energy to local customers who take part in the regional CCE program.

Since CCE programs typically give customers more renewable energy, cities like Encinitas, which is trying to reach 100% renewable by 2030, have embraced them as part of their efforts to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. City Councilwoman Kellie Hinze said tackling climate change is “the most important thing we’re going to do in our generation.”

According to the nonprofit Center for Climate Connection, there are 19 Community Choice Energy programs in California that have been established since 2002, when state law began allowing them. Customers have the choice to get energy from a CCE that serves their area, or they can remain with the existing provider. When customers take part in a CCE, they typically have the option to receive 50%, 75% or 100% renewable energy.

The increase in renewable energy provided by a CCE can help slightly lower customers’ rates, although 100% renewable energy can result in higher rates. In Los Angeles County’s newly formed Community Choice Energy program, for example, customers who select the 100% renewable energy option are projected to see as much as a 7-9% rate increase compared to Southern California Edison’s default rate.

At their Aug. 21 meeting, Encinitas council members elected to partner with San Diego, Chula Vista and La Mesa for a CCE instead of joining a North County CCE with Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad which is in the process of forming. The Del Mar City Council voted earlier this week to move forward with its North County neighbors, and Solana Beach council members will discuss it at a meeting on Sept. 16.

Encinitas City Councilman Joe Mosca will represent the city on the San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority, which will oversee the program. Blakespear will serve as the alternate. The two serve as the council’s CCE subcommittee to study the possibility of starting one for Encinitas.

“I look forward to working with you going forward to make sure we’re addressing this climate crisis,” Mosca said to council members and supporters in attendance at Encinitas City Hall.