Since Decision D.01-09-060 in September 2001, the option of direct access to competitive electricity providers has been suspended by the CPUC. Now, Senate Bill 695 means that many large California commercial and industrial businesses will once again have access to electricity providers who offer utilities at lower rates. The competition factor will drive costs down so that businesses experience substantial savings on electric usage.
The California Public Utilities Commission acted to implement SB 695 on March 11th of this year, with a reopening schedule being implemented on April 11th. SB 695 limits the amount of electric load that electricity service providers may serve. This is based on a phase in schedule adopted by the Commission, which allows 3 to 5 years for the historical maximum to be reached in each utility territory.
Some California businesses will be able to purchase electricity from these ESP’s, which means they won’t be forced to buy utilities from their local provider. Businesses that act swiftly are most apt to reap the benefits, as the opportunity is not open to every business. Direct Access is not new to California; in fact, this program was suspended in 2001 by the California State Legislature when a combination of utilities’ poor credit ratings and high wholesale market prices prevented utilities’ from being able to supply reliable power to customers.
Most likely, the program will work on a first come, first serve basis. By giving current utility companies a required 6 month notice, certain customers who had signed up previously for Direct Access will be able to do so again. Customers eligible for DA may return to bundled utility service or switch between electricity service providers according to rules set forth for the Switching Exemptions in Resolution E-3843. New customers will be able to obtain electricity through Direct Access per SB 695.
Below are a few ESP’s that will service territories normally serviced by Pacific, San Diego and Southern California Edison:
Commerce Energy, Inc.
Costa Mesa, CA – new service to all customers
San Diego, CA – new service to large customers
Praxair Plainfield, Inc.
Wilmington, DE – new service to large customers
Liberty Power Holdings, LLC
Fort Lauderdale, FL – new service to all customers
Certain businesses will now have the opportunity to compare electricity prices, choose a service that best suits their needs and enjoy substantial savings. SB 695 ultimately helps California industry save substantially on utility costs while stimulating economic growth.