As some of you may be aware, the City of Rancho Mirage has created its own utility company pursuant to California’s Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) law. For those who live outside of Rancho Mirage, this will have no immediate effect on your electric service provided by SCE—Southern California Edison. However, those who live in Rancho Mirage, RMEA—Rancho Mirage Energy Authority, a CCA will now be your new electric service provider.
The purpose of a CCA is to allow communities to choose where they purchase their electricity in order to both, increase the proportion of energy provided by renewable sources and reduce the cost paid by utility customers. To this end, RMEA has announced its plan to purchase electricity from 50% carbon-free sources (as opposed to SCE which is only 34% renewable) and reduce the “generation” costs 5% below SCE. If you look at your utility bill, you will notice that it is divided into “generation” charges and “delivery” charges; “generation” charges will be 5% lower for an RMEA customer than SCE charges, while “delivery” charges will continue being paid to SCE since RMEA customers will still use SCE’s infrastructure and SCE will continue to be responsible for maintaining that infrastructure. Roughly translated, this means that for every $200 a solar customer pays SCE on their “true-up” bill, that customer will pay $195 to RMEA for the same amount of electricity.
There are two other notable differences between SCE and RMEA:
1. Net Surplus Generation: for those of you who produce more energy in a year than you consume (which is a minority since HPE generally does not design systems to produce more than 100% of someone’s energy needs), RMEA’s “net surplus generation compensation rate” will be roughly double what SCE’s is, so someone who received a check from SCE for $20 at the end of the year will get a check from RMEA for $40 in the same year.
2. Relevant Period: while SCE customers year-long “relevant period” (the year-long period that gets reconciled on your “true up” bill) is different for every SCE customer based on the date that their system received permission to operate, all RMEA customers’ relevant periods will be from May to May.
While RMEA only affects Rancho Mirage residents, the other cities of the Coachella Valley have announced their intent to form their own CCA through the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG). Though there is no set timeline or details at the moment, we’re confident that CVAG’s CCA will follow a similar structure to RMEA. Once we learn more information, we’ll keep you apprised.