Businesses across the state of California can now benefit from the Direct Access program, which means they will save money on utility bills. Be aware that if you are a commercial, industrial or non-profit business it is important that you sign up by April 16th, when initial contracts start being accepted.
Only three utility companies are subject to Senate Bill 695, and if you currently purchase electricity from these companies you are likely to qualify. Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are the three.
Basically, SB 695 deregulates electricity for California businesses, which means you will be able to purchase electricity from service providers who will compete for your business. This means lower rates, and a substantial savings for you.
The California Public Utilities Commission held a meeting on March 11th of this year, where the final decision in the Direct Access reopening proceeding (SB695) was unanimously approved. Once a business has submitted their request on April 16th, the utilities have up to 20 days to inform you of whether you were included under the cap and are authorized to switch electricity providers, whether you have not been granted permission to switch, or that you have been put on a waiting list. If your business is approved to switch to direct access, you must be enrolled within 60 days.
Senate Bill 695 was signed in to law on October 11 of 2009. Implementing and reopening begins on April 11th, when authorized increases in the allowable direct access transactions will be phased in over a period of no less than three years and no greater than five. Direct Access was suspended by the CPUC on September 20 of 2001, meaning businesses were forced to obtain electric services from regulated electric utilities.
Right now, there are more than a dozen ESP’s competing to service businesses with electricity. Some can service customers in all three territories that were serviced by the utilities listed earlier, while others are limited to smaller territories. Some of these electricity service providers include:
3 Phases Renewables, LLC out of Manhattan Beach, CA
Commerce Energy, Inc. out of Costa Mesa, CA
Direct Energy Services, LLC out of Houston, TX (services Pacific Gas & Electric territory only)
Pilot Power Group, Inc. out of San Diego, CA
Praxair Plainfield, Inc. out of Wilmington, DE (services Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison territories)
If you are interested in decreasing electricity costs for your company, be sure to sign up by April 16th. Many California businesses will experience substantial savings on utility costs.