SDG&E EcoChoice Plans and Costs
We start with the clean energy in the standard plan, which comes from the SDGE 2016 Power Content Label. Clean energy sources are Solar (21%), Wind (21%), Biomass and Bio-waste (1%), for a total of 43% Clean. The rest was efficient natural gas plants at 42%, and Other (15%). The average residential customer uses 486 kWh per month.
The Green Tariff (GT) Total Premium from EcoChoice for 2018 is the very low $0.00171 per kWh (I presume). For the average residential customer using 486 kWh per month, this gives a Premium charge of only $0.83 per month. This turns out to be slightly off, where their web calculator is accurate, see below. The EcoChoice plan for 2017 was $0.01033 per kWh. Applying that to the average 486 kWh gave $5.02 per month. I have verified this against the bill of a friendly volunteer. The 2016 EcoChoice plan had a premium of $0.00428 per kWh. For 486 kWh, this gave $2.08 per month.
The EcoChoice product is 100% local solar from an interim pool of 100 MegaWatts. The customer can subscribe to a 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100% local renewable program. New renewable power will be acquired with the program’s resources.
In testing out my interpretation, I used their EcoChoice calculator for residential 2018, putting in the average 486 kWh usage, and discovered that such a user would have a monthly bill decrease of $0.52. This was verified against the bill of the friendly volunteer.
The California Public Utility Commission required SCGE to calculate the cost rate of the EcoChoice program for 20 years for investors, using a given formula. The footnotes to the table say that you cannot even predict future prices for 5 years. Indeed, the premium rates twenty years out get ridiculously large. We should point out, however, that the next three year premium rates are in fact reimbursements in dollars per kWh of (0.00182), (0.00307), and (0.00007), respectively for 2019, 2020, and 2021. For the average 486 kWh usage, these monthly EcoChoice rebates are $0.88, $1.49, and $0.034, respectively.
At the 2018 and future low rates, it is hard not to join EcoChoice at 100% renewables.
While the SC Edison 100% Solar Green Rate Program was about a 15% Premium, and SDGE EcoChoice is essentially cost neutral, the SDGE tier rates are about 25% larger than the SCE tier rates. So even with the Green Rate Program, the SCE user is paying about the about 10% less than the SDGE user.