Lancaster, CA. 5/7/2015 – The City of Lancaster today announced the commencement of service to Lancaster Choice Energy’s initial customers, marking the launch of the first municipally-operated community choice aggregator in the State of California and the first to operate in Southern California. Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) will begin serving its first phase of customers on their electric meter read dates throughout the month of May.
LCE’s first phase encompasses more than 850 accounts, including all municipal accounts as well as residents and businesses that have elected to enroll early in the program.
“This first phase of early adopters allows us to finalize our enrollment process, data communications, and all systems on a smaller scale before we roll the program out citywide,” added Parris. “This enables us to ensure that all aspects of the program are operating smoothly, providing a seamless transition for our residents and businesses when they are enrolled.”
LCE will partner with the existing regional investor-owned utility (IOU), Southern California Edison (Edison), to offer electric service to all customers in the City of Lancaster. Edison will continue to provide electric delivery services such as transmission and distribution, as well as continue to maintain power lines and bill customers. LCE, in contrast, will provide the electricity itself. LCE’s charges for electric generation will appear as a line item on customers’ Edison bills, while Edison will continue to charge for its services.
“Edison will continue to be responsible for anything you can physically see or touch, while LCE provides the electricity to power your home or business,” explained City Manager Mark Bozigian. “This approach enables LCE to set energy rates locally, while also determining the renewable content of the energy consumed here in Lancaster.”
LCE’s electric generation rates are lower than Edison’s rates; exact savings vary based on the customer’s rate schedule and energy usage. Customers enrolled in the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and Medical Baseline programs, which are not subject to exit fees charged by Edison, are projected to reap the greatest savings. LCE rates are set annually by the Lancaster City Council, while Edison’s are subject to change more often. In 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission approved more than a dozen changes in Edison’s rates.
“Every dollar saved through LCE translates to more money being kept within our local economy,” said Parris. “For businesses, this could mean a new piece of equipment or money towards hiring a new employee. For families, it could mean being able to afford dance lessons or karate classes. We are proud to offer this benefit to Lancaster residents and businesses, and we are incredibly proud to be able to offer such substantial savings to our local families who are most in need.
“Because Edison typically changes its rates several times a year while LCE’s are set annually, we not only offer our customers increased stability for budgeting purposes, but they can also anticipate that the gap between our rates and Edison’s will increase and ultimately save them even more money.”
Crazy Otto’s was one local business that chose to enroll in LCE early. Owner Jin Hur has made a number of upgrades to enhance energy efficiency, thus lowering operating costs while also helping to protect the environment.
“I was excited to hear about the Lancaster Choice Energy program,” said Hur. “It will not only help Lancaster become a greener, more sustainable community, but also offers an opportunity for cost savings. Given the substantial energy needs of operating a business, this amount can be significant. This is an excellent program for local businesses.”
LCE currently offers two product options: Clear Choice, which contains 35 percent renewable energy, and Smart Choice, which is 100 percent renewable. Clear Choice is the default product in which all customers will be automatically enrolled, unless they choose to “opt up” to Smart Choice. Smart Choice is offered at a small premium over the cost of Clear Choice, at a flat rate of $10 extra per month for residential accounts and 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour more for commercial accounts.
“One of the greatest aspects of LCE is consumer choice,” added Parris. “For more than a century, most Californians have been locked into a single choice when it comes to energy service: utilize your local IOU or live in the Dark Ages without electricity. Now, the citizens of Lancaster not only have a choice of energy companies; they also have a choice of products. They can enjoy increased renewable energy at a lower cost with Clear Choice, or they can reduce their carbon footprint by opting up to Smart Choice. Either way, by participating in LCE, they are helping to build a greener future for our community.”
Hunter Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram/Hunter Fiat was the first business in the City to opt up to Smart Choice service.
“Hunter Dodge is deeply invested in the Antelope Valley community,” said Tim Fuller, co-owner of the dealership with brother Tom Fuller. “Tom and I truly care about our community, and are dedicated to protecting it for future generations to enjoy. Being able to participate in the Smart Choice service allows us to help us meet our goal of protecting the environment while benefiting the City of Lancaster to grow and prosper.”
Other businesses and organizations that have chosen to enroll early in LCE include:
- All About Fitness
- Antelope Valley Chevrolet
- Antelope Valley College
- Antelope Valley Florist
- Antelope Valley Ford
- Antelope Valley Union High School District
- Aven’s Fine Home Furnishings
- Bella West Spa & Salon
- BeX Bar & Grill
- Calandri/Sonrise Farms
- Camille’s Sidewalk Café
- George’s Cleaners
- Kinetic Brewing Company
- Lancaster Honda
- Lancaster School District
- Lemon Leaf Café
- MDM Architects
- Panache Salon
- R. Rex Parris Law Firm
- Re-Max All-Pro
- University of Antelope Valley