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SDG&E - Temporary Suspension, 'Community Choice'


Last updated 12/28/2015 at 1:15pm

November saw SDG&E becoming the first utility in the state to set in motion efforts to form a separate marketing district. The proposal would enable them to lobby on the alternative energy program - community choice aggregation.

The California Public Utilities Commission responded last week, by sending a notice to SDG&E stating its request has been suspended for 120 days in order to give staff time to review it.

Under the current system, SDG&E purchases energy for all residents and businesses in San Diego. However, under community choice, the city would make those purchasing decisions, giving it more control over where its energy comes from, the cost and how much clean energy is used.

SDG&E’s proposed district, would be funded by shareholders, not the utility's customers and under California law, the only way utilities can communicate about community choice is by forming an independent district. The utility company had aimed for its marketing district to become effective on Dec. 21.

Lawyer Ty Tosdal, who advises clients on energy regulatory and California Public Utilities Commission proceedings, said it is common for the state commission to suspend a request when protests are filed. He said the decision on SDG&E's marketing district could come in less than four months, depending on how long the review takes. The suspension's "practical effect is that SDG&E is unable to move forward with their marketing and lobbying efforts against community choice programs until they receive written approval from the energy division of the commission."

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