The Switch from SoCal Edison to Clean Power Alliance: What You Need to Know
I’ve been getting tons of inquiries on this new switch from SoCal Edison over to Clean Power Alliance. I’ve placed calls to both SCE and CPA as well as pored over their websites to get as much information as possible.
The bottom line is this:
Depending on your municipality, you may have been opted-in to using Clean Power Alliance as your new electricity provider. Because the delivery is still through SCE’s infrastructure, your bill will still come from SCE with your bill broken down into CPA’s rate for generation and SCE’s rate for delivery. Your specific municipality would have also selected one of three options for power on your behalf.
1) Lean Power, 1-2% less than SCE’s current default rate
2) Clean Power, pricing about the same as SCE
3) 100% Green Power, 7-9% Higher than SCE’s current default rate
Here is a chart of the participating cities and their choice of default rate:
So, based on where you find yourselves in this chart, you may find yourself saving a little, staying about the same, or seeing a spike in your rates 7-9%!
Now, to all non-solar customers who may find themselves in the 100% Green option, if your initial thought is to be okay with the rate increase because it uses only renewable energy, why not consider actually going solar?! Seriously, rather than increase your utility bill you can actually reduce or eliminate it by going 100% renewable yourself. And this can be done with NO out of pocket, up-front expense. You can own your system and not have to lease it. You can earn a 30% tax credit and get paid! Your solar loan payment will likely be considerably less than your current electric bill, and much less than your new utility bill, which is expected to increase.
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If you’re a non-solar customer who hates the idea of being green and saving money and simply want to opt out of this option, you must proactively request a different rate plan than the one chosen for you. I will provide opt out instructions at the end.
So what about those of us that already have solar and are enrolled in SCE’s Net Energy Metering program? According to CPA, we will automatically be enrolled into their NEM program. We will still get the monthly delivery charges that we get every month from SCE but the kilowatt hour credits and debits will be subject to CPA’s rates. So is that good or bad?
Current buy back rates from CPA for surplus energy at the end of your annual True-Up period are $0.04079. In other words, whatever kWh credits you have at the end of the 12 month period (if any) will be bought back at that rate. SCE currently is at $0.03732 per kWh, so you stand to get compensated more from CPA. One thing to note: Once enrolled into CPA, your 12 month “Relevant Period” or True-UP ends with SCE, and you will be either compensated or charged based on where you are at for that month and your 12 month Relevant Period or True-Up schedule will start over with CPA.
But what about the rates month-to-month via net metering? This would determine what you are getting charged for or credited for on a monthly basis based on over/under generation compared to usage. They have a bill comparison calculator here, but it will not work if you input negative data (for excess energy given to the grid). For that you have to email them directly and request an NEM bill comparison. You can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I tried their online calculator using usage data from a month where I didn’t have any negative dayparts with regards to generation (December) and then spit out a comparison showing it would have been $4 more expensive on the month. I’ll have to wait to see if my months where I generate excess will benefit me greater than that $4 or not.
One other thing to consider is that with both SCE and CPA, there are about five different Time of Use rate plans that vary in peak hours and rate per kWh in each. Personal household usage habits will best determine which of these is most advantageous. It will be different for a family that has people home all day consuming power, for example, than a couple who works all day with no one at home to consume electricity.
In general, one of the biggest benefits of Time of Use to solar customers is getting credit at the on-peak rates and paying for power at the super-off-peak rates. For example in TOU-A with Edison, the on-peak rate is 46 cents and the super-off-peak is 12 cents. CPA’s Time of Use A plan is 35 cents for on and 3 cents for super-off. This is way oversimplifying it, but for sake of comparison let’s say you over-produced 50 kWh during on-peak and consumed 300 kWh during super-off.
Edison = -50 kWh x 0.46 = -$23 300 x 0.12 = $36 Total bill of $13.00
CPA = -50 kWh x 0.35 = -$17.50 300 x 0.03 = $9 Total bill of -$8.50
Because of the greater difference between their on and super-off peak rates, CPA does appear to be the better deal even though their on peak rates won’t pay out as much. Again – disclaimer – this was a very simplistic example of one of many examples of how usage data can play out.
All in all, we have until prior to this Friday, February 1st (midnight on Thursday) to opt out prior to being “placed into service” with CPA. You can still opt out after February 1st, but according to the CPA website you’ll pay $0.50 to SCE for a transfer fee (which isn’t that big a deal) but you’ll be placed into a “Transitional Rate Schedule” with SCE for six months and then back to their “Standard Rates.” You cannot switch back to CPA for 12 months.
I called Edison and was told that the Transitional Rates are based on that day’s market value for electricity and can fluctuate the entire 6 months. There is also no way to predict what it will be. The best bet there is to call SCE and ask before making the switch back should you choose to do so.
I’m not going to opt out and will see how my specific scenario plays out. Yours may vary depending on which rate plan your city put you in and how your household uses electricity. Feel free to reach out and ask for assistance at any time.