New CCCE program prioritizes clean energy, will begin in October
Residents of Carpinteria, Goleta and the South Coast unincorporated areas can expect to see Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) on their electric bill next month as local officials make the switch to cleaner energy generating sources in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Starting in October, customers of Southern California Edison living on the South Coast will be enrolled in the new CCCE program. Under the program, customers will still receive energy services from SCE, but CCCE will determine the source of the energy.
CCCE prioritizes clean energy sources and has a goal of achieving 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030.
No action is needed to enroll in the program, and customers will see charges on their October electric statement for both SCE and CCCE. CCCE will be charging for the cost of energy generation, and SCE will charge for transmission and delivery. Prior to the start of the program, SCE charged for the price of generation, transmission and delivery.
Officials from CCCE say this shift in energy sourcing will come with a 2% reduction in the price of generation services. This reduction will remain constant in each quarter, meaning that when SoCal Edison shifts rate prices for generation, CCCE will shift prices to ensure it is 2% lower than the provider’s rate, according to Shelly Whitworth, the senior energy media specialist with CCCE.
This new program gives customers the opportunity to choose where their energy comes from for the first time ever as CCCE secures clean energy from solar, geothermal energy, battery storage and offshore wind sources, Ms. Whitworth said.
“CCCE is providing a choice for the first time ever for electric generation,” Ms. Whitworth told the News-Press. “Customers can choose what power procurement strategy they like better and they can gain access to energy program funding that’s based on electric generation right in the community.”
In addition to the rate reduction and choice of energy procurement, Ms. Whitworth said CCCE offers other benefits to customers, like energy programs and electric vehicle incentives. Currently, CCCE offers customers incentives for going electric by offering payments to offset the cost of electric vehicle purchases and the cost of installing an electric vehicle charger at home.
This current incentive program is set to expire on September 30, but Ms. Whitworth said the company is working on a new incentive program for electric vehicles and chargers that is expected to launch on Nov. 1.
While no action is required to enroll in CCCE, customers can choose to opt-out of the CCCE program if they desire. To opt out, customers can visit 3cenergy.org/opt-out. There is no fee for opting out as long as customers disenroll by the end of the enrollment period, which lasts for 60 days after customers receive their October billing statement from SCE.
Before customers opt out, however, officials are asking residents to consider the financial and environmental impact of the program. Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, who sits on the CCCE Policy Board as vice chair, said the program not only keeps the region on track to reach its 100% clean energy goal by 2030, but benefits customers with lower prices for energy.
“If you’re like me, your highest priority is the ethics of your decision,” Mr. Williams told the News-Press. “Being with CCCE is great for the environment because right now, the investors in utilities are not buying renewable energies, but we are. And so by being part of CCCE, you will help drive the procurement of additional renewable power.”
Mr. Williams also said the program offers an affordable way to join in on the county’s clean energy goals without raising the price for generation. In north county, CCCE has provided electric generation for 22% less than Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), according to Mr. Williams.
“We’re doing more renewables, and we have better rates even though power has cost more lately,” Mr. Williams said. “We have much better rates than PG&E and slightly better rates than SCE, and we also have really exciting programs that can help electricity reach the community that we live in.”
CCCE operations are overseen by a Policy Board and Operations Board composed of elected leaders, city managers and city administrators from across the state. Locally, Mr. Williams, Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino, Guadalupe Mayor Ariston Julian and Goleta Councilmember Kyle Richards sit on the organization’s Policy Board. County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, Goleta City Manager Dave Durflinger and Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell sit on the Operations Board.
Officials involved in 3CE will be hosting informational webinars in the coming weeks to answer questions from community members along the South Coast about the program and enrollment. The first webinar will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Thursday, followed by a second webinar on Sept. 14. Additional webinars are scheduled for Nov. 16 and Nov. 18. To register, visit 3cenergy.org/2021-enrollment.
For more information on the CCCE program, visit 3cenergy.org. During an interview with the News-Press, Mr. Williams said he is also willing to take questions from local residents pertaining to the implementation of CCCE. His office can be reached at (805) 568-2186.