Article Republished By Javier Troconis
Starting this month, Chula Vista residents will receive electricity from 50% renewable energy sources supplied by a not-for-profit community choice energy provider, San Diego Community Power (SDCP). For the first time, with SDCP, customers will have a real choice to access clean electricity at reasonable rates. And your choice for clean energy will support local economic development and jobs. What’s critically important is that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced as more clean energy is used. All community members share in the greater health benefits and improved quality of life.
Chula Vista adopted its climate action plan in 2017 with a goal to have 100% electricity from renewables by 2035. We were impressed by how much we could reduce GHG emissions by switching to renewable energy. Groups of concerned residents including teachers and students came together to educate our community about our city’s commitment to adopt community choice energy as a key strategy in the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A diverse cross-segment of community members and representatives all collaborated in supporting this effort.
In 2019, Chula Vista, along with four other cities in our county, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Encinitas and San Diego, came together as SDCP, a locally operated community choice energy provider that sources clean energy from solar and wind. Each city is represented on the SDCP board, so we all have a say, and we’ve been eagerly anticipating the launch of services. Local communities and local governments, like ours, have the power to play a critical role in solving the global problem of climate change. As the second largest city in San Diego County and as a founding member of SDCP, Chula Vista’s city government and communities play a critical leadership role in addressing the challenges of climate change in our city, our region and beyond.
SDCP launched service to 70,000 municipal and business customers in these five cities last year, and with the roll-out to residential customers who represent the largest group in these cities this spring, will soon serve an additional 700,000 residential accounts. National City and the County’s unincorporated communities have also recently joined SDCP and will begin receiving service in early 2023.
We are automatically enrolled in SDCP per California state laws that govern community choice energy providers. We have the option to opt out, but it makes sense to stay opted in, both for the planet and our pocketbook, since we can each make a difference to address climate change by powering our homes with clean energy. We can also opt up to 100% renewable energy for a nominal increase in rates, an important option for those without access to rooftop solar.
Power from SDCP at the 50% renewables tier costs about 1% to 2% less than SDG&E and residents get to keep current programs such as California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) that offer income-based discounts. And we will continue to receive just the one bill from SDG&E, which will deliver power, manage monthly billing and customer service, and provide ongoing system maintenance.
As a not-for-profit entity, San Diego Community Power will reinvest its excess revenues into local renewable projects, supporting new clean energy jobs and equitable sustainability programs. It’s a win-win for Chula Vista’s future, since SDCP offers cleaner energy, competitive rates, and a real commitment to invest in our community.
Scofield is a long-time resident of Chula Vista, and retired math teacher and climate advocate.
Lopez is a consumer advocate and the executive director of the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN). Both represent the City on SDCP’s Community Advisory Committee.