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7 Things To Understand About Community Choice In San Diego

July 21, 2017 12:36 p.m.

7 Things To Understand About Community Choice In San Diego

GUEST:

Claire Trageser, reporter, KPBS News

Related Story: 7 Things To Understand About Community Choice In San Diego

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

The community choice aggregation study released -- makes for dense reading material. The study found that the simple answer to those questions is yes and yes. But the study in the plan are more complicated. Claire Trageser has been following the story and joins me now. The study looks at multiple scenarios with community choice customers using different amounts of renewable energy. Can you walk us through some of those conclusions.
There are five different scenarios for how much renewable energy committee choice customers would use. It found that Cody Joyce would be cheaper then SDG&E by 2023. And another where all the committee choice customers used 80% renewable energy the study found that community choice will be cheaper by 2027 and the study did not produce out far enough to see how costs would compare where 100% of community choice customers only used renewable energy because that is down the road.
Is there a scenario where sticking with SDG&E would be cheaper question mark
It would be cheaper because it takes time for the cost savings to set it but the city says that it will make up that cost so that customers don't end up paying more in the first three years and then and all the scenarios SDG&E and something more expensive in the long term.
The reason that San Diego is exporting this option is to make the goals of 100% renewable energy. Does this study say we can get there?
Yes. That is a big take away is that they can get to 100% of renewable energy by 2035 using community choice so city officials say we know we have one way to reach that goal and there are looking at other potential ways to reach that goal so that they can be sure that they've explored all the options.
If he and -- and even if they do --
Anyone can choose to stay with SDG&E . If they go with community choice customers will be automatically enrolled but then they could opt out. The study assumes that 40% of residents and businesses will opt out and stick with SDG&E. That is a pretty generous assumption because of what is happened in other places that have gone with community choice but if it is wrong and they do stay with SDG&E that it could impact the conclusions.
There is a strange addition of exit fees that SDG&E can charge the city if they do decide to go with community choice energy. Why is SDG&E allowed to charge that feet? Because SDG&E has already bought energy for the city to use in the future so if they go with the choice and they don't use the energy they will have to pay SDG&E back for the energy they've bought. The study assumes that exit fees will stay the same as they were in March of this year. If they increase by 10%, then they conclusion that community choices cheaper could be wrong. That is unlikely right now. The California Public Utilities Commission is deciding whether utilities like SDG&E should be allowed to set the amounts for these exit fees and it could end up decreasing them.
This seems like a tremendously complicated subject. How are people going to get acquainted with this study?
That is what we are try to do is explain to people in the city will be hosting workshops to tell people about community choice and the other energy programs that they might be considering. I think it's also important to know that if they go with community choice, the average resident or business may not notice a difference. Their bill will still come from SDG&E and they will still -- their power will be delivered in the same way so it may not make that much of a difference to a regular person.
I've been speaking with Claire Trageser. You can find more details about the community choice aggregation study in her story at KPBS.org. Thank you so much.
Thank you.