In December 2020, the California Choice Energy Authority (CalChoice) submitted a request to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow three associate members— Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE), Pico Rivera Innovative Municipal Energy (PRIME) and San Jacinto Power (SJP)— to implement a joint Disadvantaged Communities Green Tariff (DAC-GT) program in their communities. The DAC-GT program, if approved, would offer low-income customers a 20 percent discount on 100 percent renewable energy.
“The DAC-GT program is an excellent opportunity for our associate members to help low-income customers in their communities go green,” said CalChoice Executive Director Jason Caudle. “We’ve submitted a strong advice letter to the CPUC with this request and we’re optimistic that LCE, PRIME and SJP communities will soon be offering their customers discounted renewable energy.”
The DAC-GT program would be available to customers who qualify for at least one of two existing low-income programs: California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) and live within a disadvantaged community. Qualifying customers would receive the 20 percent DAC-GT discount on 100 renewable energy in addition to any discounts received through CARE and FERA.
The CPUC created the DAC-GT program in 2018 to help ensure disadvantaged communities are not left behind as California transitions to clean energy. Disadvantaged communities in the state are identified by the California Environmental Protection Agency using a screening process based on geographic, socioeconomic, public health and environmental hazard criteria.
DAC-GT programs across the state are funded through greenhouse gas allowance (GHG) revenues. GHG revenues are collected from electricity companies that import or supply electricity from non-renewable sources and therefore must purchase a permit as required by California’s Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program. If insufficient funds are available through GHG revenues, the DAC-GT program may use public purpose program funds.
“The DAC-GT program would be a great benefit to our low-income customers,” said Pico Rivera Mayor Raul Elias. “We look forward to the CPUC’s response and hope we can begin offering this program to our residents by next year.”
The CPUC is currently reviewing CalChoice’s request to implement the program. If approved, LCE, PRIME and SJP could begin offering the program as soon as 2022.