Del Mar sets default rate for CEA customers

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar will offer Clean Energy Alliance customers 50% renewable energy that is 75% carbon-free as their default energy supply, which will provide a monthly savings of about 61 cents for residential customers who currently have a comparable SDG&E plan.

When the CEA launches this May, residential and business customers will also be able to opt into a separate 50% renewable energy plan that offers slightly more of a discount, or a 100% renewable energy plan that would cost a little more, relative to customers’ current San Diego Gas & Electric bills. Customers can also opt out of the CEA and continue receiving energy from SDG&E, which will continue to provide the infrastructure used to deliver energy for CEA customers.

“This was a dream years ago when we first adopted a climate action plan,” Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden said during a March 15 council meeting, adding that the CEA will be able to offer “competitive rates and cleaner, greener energy.”

The CEA, which also includes the cities of Carlsbad and Solana Beach, is one of the state’s newest Community Choice Energy programs, which allow local governments to band together and offer customers more renewable energy at lower costs. All three CEA cities have selected 50% renewable energy that is 75% carbon-free, known as the Clean Impact 75 option, as the default plan for their customers.

The Del Mar City Council also could have selected the 50% renewable energy option without the 75% carbon-free supplement, or the 100% renewable energy option.

“I think it’s simpler in some ways to provide in some ways less choice because this is brand new to everybody,” City Councilman Dave Druker said, who supported the 50% renewable option without 75% carbon-free energy.

He added that it’s better to “make it as economical and as easy to save some money, especially for businesses that have been hurting” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members discussed whether the 50% renewable energy option, which offers the maximum possible discount, would entice more customers to remain with the CEA.

The CEA is expecting approximately 5% to 10% of customers to opt out and remain with SDG&E.

But council members voted 3-2 to set the Clean Impact 75 option as the city’s default to maximize the cleaner energy benefits, while still giving the average residential customer a small decrease in their energy bills. Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland joined Druker in supporting the 50% option without the 75% carbon-free energy enhancement; council members Tracy Martinez and Dan Quirk joined Worden in supporting the Clean Impact 75.