San Jacinto Power expected to decrease costs by 3%
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
If you are a resident of the city of San Jacinto, expect to see a decrease in electricity costs very soon.
The San Jacinto City Council adopted four resolutions Tuesday night; The first, to approve electric generation rates for the proposed Community Choice Aggregation program, San Jacinto Power. The second resolution approved Customer Confidentiality Policies, while the third approved a budget for San Jacinto Power for the Fiscal Year 2017/2018, and the fourth authorized the City Manager Robert Johnson to execute all necessary energy procurement contracts and related documents, based on San Jacinto Power’s forecast energy consumption.
Under a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program like San Jacinto Power (SJP), Southern California Edison (SCE) will remain responsible for electricity delivery and transmission, power and transmission infrastructure, meters, and customer billing. The only difference is that the power being used by customers will be purchased by SJP.
SCE customers wouldn’t notice much of a change, SJP would just be replacing the utility in providing electricity.
The community is expected to benefit from the program, which will allow local control and economic development opportunities, beginning with setting rates, renewable energy option policies, and developing energy programs.
The SJP budget for the 2017/2018 Fiscal Year results in an ending fund balance of $180,000. Over time, the CCA is expected to stabilize its electric procurement costs with accumulated reserves from the program. After excess revenues repay the General Fund for startup costs, they can be used for various programs beneficial to the city and its taxpayers, or adjusted for the future to generate greater savings. The budget is expected to exceed projected expenses by $180,265.
The implementation of SJP, has been in the works since 2012, when City Councilman and State Assembly candidate Andrew Kotyuk brought it to Council as Mayor.
“I’m very pleased to see this move forward,” said Kotyuk. “Edison isn’t going to reduce rates…to try to bring companies here, we wanted to offer lower electricity rates like other cities do that have their own power generation. It’s taken some time to get here, and hopefully this will be an advantage we can have economically to bring more jobs to our community.”
SJP was first proposed in August 2012, when San Jacinto and the city of Lancaster created the California Choice Energy Authority (CCEA) — a joint powers authority (JPA) designed to help cities in SCE territory participate in CCA without having to sacrifice control or any of the benefits associated with a traditional JPA. In 2016, City Council adopted an ordinance to establish a CCA program, and in April 2017, an implementation plan and statement of intent by California Utilities Commission had been certified to San Jacinto.
“Customers of the SJP program will pay a single electricity bill, which includes generation charges that will be set by this council, and delivery charges which will be set by SCE services,” said John Dalessi from Pacific Energy Advisors. “When a customer makes the transition of receiving all services from SCE, to using SJP in April, they will still pay the same delivery fee that they do today, but the Edison generation charges will be removed from the bill.”
Dalessi explained that their rate comparison would focus on generation charges and exit fees, creating a similar rate structure as SCE, making the two consistent when it comes to delivery charges.
The rates proposed offer SJP customers a 3 percent savings compared to SCE rates, after accounting for exit fees normally charged by SCE to CCA customers.
“It’s not often that government goes and says ‘hey, we’re going to give our residents a discount,’” said Mayor Crystal Ruiz. “It’s really exciting to see something we’ve moved forward that is actually something that most governments don’t do for their cities, so I’m really proud to be apart of this.”
Ruiz said she is excited that they can utilize this adoption as a business incentive program, inviting retailers to their city with the promise of reduced electricity rates.
“Not only are we helping to get our citizens a discount, but we’re also helping to bring them in to the city, and help us bring businesses here,” she added.
The program is expected to launch in April this year, which will offer its base product SJP Prime Power, with a renewable energy content of 35 percent. They will also offer an optional premium 100 percent renewable energy product called SJP Evergreen, and another called SJP NEM an option for customers with behind-the-meter solar.