By Karen Villasenor.
Rancho Mirage residents and businesses now have a choice in their electricity provider, and nearly 100 percent of the community has chosen Rancho Mirage Energy Authority (RMEA), the City’s new Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. Less than 0.5 percent of residents and businesses have opted out of RMEA since the program’s launch on May 1, 2018.
“With Rancho Mirage’s hot desert climate, electricity bills are extremely high during summer months. The community wants lower bills and that is exactly what the City offers through RMEA,” said Isaiah Hagerman, City of Rancho Mirage City Manager. “The program’s five percent rate savings and the community’s trust in the City have been valuable contributors to RMEA’s low opt-out rate.”
Per AB 117 (2002), California’s CCA legislation, RMEA is now the City’s default energy provider. Residents and businesses are automatically enrolled in the program and have the option to opt out at any time to continue receiving service from Southern California Edison (SCE), the local investor-owned utility. RMEA currently provides rates that are five percent lower than SCE’s.
Before RMEA’s launch, the City held multiple public meetings where the Rancho Mirage community was able to ask questions and learn more about the new program. Prior to automatic enrollment in the program, residents received two notices from the City with detailed information about RMEA and their ability to opt out of the program. Customers will be receiving another two notices within the first 60 days of RMEA service.
“Before launching the program, we had a comprehensive public outreach campaign to educate the public on RMEA and why the City started the program,” added Hagerman. “The Rancho Mirage community recognizes the benefits of RMEA and why it is beneficial for them to remain enrolled in the program.”
The City estimates $1.4 million community-wide savings during the first year of RMEA service. The community will also see long-term benefits as revenue generated by RMEA is invested in local programs that benefit that community.
The program offers residents and businesses three energy plans: 50 percent carbon-free energy, 100 percent renewable energy and a net energy metering (NEM) plan for residents who generate their own electricity. Customers are automatically enrolled in the 50 percent carbon-free plan and can opt-up to 100 percent renewable energy. Customers enrolled in NEM with SCE are automatically transferred to RMEA’s NEM program.
Customers who opt out of RMEA within the first 60 days of service may return to RMEA at any time; those who opt out after the first 60 days of service are prohibited by SCE to return to RMEA for one year.