Is San Diego Community Power Cheaper Than Sdge?

San Diego Community Power (SDCP) is a new community choice aggregation program that provides electricity to residents and businesses in the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Encinitas and Imperial Beach. It launched in 2021 as an alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE), which has been the main energy utility serving the San Diego region for decades.

SDCP sources clean energy from renewable sources and aims to provide lower rates than SDGE while giving customers more renewable energy options. SDGE continues to deliver the electricity and provide billing, customer service and power line maintenance for all customers in its service area. Customers can choose to stay with SDGE or switch to SDCP for the electricity generation portion of their bill.

SDCP Rates

San Diego Community Power (SDCP) is a community choice aggregation program that provides electricity to residents in the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Encinitas and Imperial Beach. SDCP offers two different rate plans for customers:

PowerOn: PowerOn is SDCP’s standard rate plan. With PowerOn, customers receive 50% renewable energy at rates slightly lower than SDGE’s. PowerOn’s rate is 1% below SDGE’s current rates.

Power100: Power100 provides 100% renewable energy from solar, wind and other renewable sources. The Power100 rate is 6% below SDGE’s current rates, making it one of the most affordable 100% renewable energy plans available.

Like SDGE, SDCP reviews rates annually and makes adjustments based on market conditions, energy costs and other factors. Overall, SDCP aims to provide clean energy options at competitive rates compared to SDGE.

SDGE Rates

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) is the main utility providing electricity service to San Diego residents. SDGE has various rate plans customers can choose from:

Tiered Rate Plans – SDGE’s default rate plan. Charges a lower rate for the first block of energy used per month, then a higher rate once consumption exceeds a baseline amount. There are different tiered plans (DR, DR-SES, TOU-DR, etc.) with different pricing and baseline allotments.

Time-Of-Use Rates – Rates vary by time of day. Electricity used during “peak” afternoon/evening hours costs more than other times.

Electric Vehicle Rates – Special discounted pricing plans for EV owners to encourage overnight charging.

Exact rates differ across plans and depend on factors like location and household energy usage. But most SDGE residential rates currently range from around 15-35 cents per kWh, with extra monthly service fees.

SDGE rates are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Rate increases must be approved based on SDGE’s costs to deliver energy. SDGE has implemented frequent rate hikes in recent years.

Rate Comparison

When comparing SDCP and SDGE rates side-by-side for different types of customers, there are some key differences to note:

Residential Customers

For the standard residential rate plan, SDCP charges slightly less per kWh than SDGE. On average, SDCP residential customers pay around 1-2% less on their electric bill compared to SDGE.

san diego utility prices compared

Commercial Customers

SDCP commercial rates are also marginally cheaper than SDGE, with average savings of 1-3% on electric bills. Larger commercial customers with high energy usage tend to see the biggest savings.

Low-Income Customers

SDCP has special discounted rates for qualified low-income customers. These rates offer significant savings of 15-20% off electric bills compared to SDGE’s standard low-income rates.

So in summary, while SDCP rates are just slightly cheaper across the board, low-income customers stand to benefit the most from SDCP’s discounted rates.

Other Fees

In addition to basic energy rates, SDCP and SDGE charge various other fees to their customers. For residential customers, these can include:

  • Fixed monthly charges – This covers costs like billing, meter reading, customer service, etc.

  • Minimum usage fees – Customers are charged this fee if their usage in a month falls below a minimum threshold.

  • Connection fees – Charged when establishing new service at a location.

  • Disconnection fees – Applied when service is ended or suspended.

  • Late payment fees – Assessed on overdue bills.

  • Deposit fees – Required deposits for new customers based on credit.

  • Returned payment fees – For bounced checks or failed automatic payments.

The specific amounts and policies around these fees can vary between SDCP and SDGE. Customers should review the fee schedules closely, as they can impact the overall cost of service.

Renewable Energy

When it comes to renewable energy, SDCP and SDGE take different approaches. SDCP offers 50% renewable energy by default, with options to upgrade to 100% renewable for a small fee. Their goal is to provide 100% renewable energy by 2035.

In contrast, SDGE’s standard mix is only about 44% renewable. They don’t offer a 100% renewable option for regular customers. SDGE has committed to providing 44% renewable energy through 2030, but doesn’t have a clear path to reach 100% renewables.

So SDCP not only starts with more renewable energy than SDGE, they have more ambitious goals to dramatically increase their renewable mix over the next decade. For customers wanting green energy, SDCP is the cleaner choice today and in the future.

Customer Reviews

Customers who have switched from SDG&E to SDCP have had mixed experiences when it comes to pricing. Here are some common themes from customer reviews:

Positive reviews for SDCP pricing:

  • Lower rates than SDG&E, leading to savings on their utility bills.
  • Easy online sign-up process to switch from SDG&E.
  • Appreciation for SDCP’s focus on green energy.

Negative reviews for SDCP pricing:

  • Higher rates than expected based on initial comparisons.
  • Confusion about fees and rate changes.
  • Difficulty getting clear rate information from SDCP.

Reviews for SDG&E pricing:

  • High rates and bill amounts compared to alternative suppliers.
  • Frustration with rate increases.
  • Perception that SDG&E takes advantage of having a monopoly.

Overall, customer reviews indicate mixed experiences in terms of pricing when switching from SDG&E to SDCP. While some have found cost savings with SDCP, others have been disappointed by higher than expected rates. There are also consistent complaints about SDG&E’s high pricing. More rate transparency from both providers could help customers make informed choices.

Price Stability

When evaluating an energy provider, it’s important to consider the stability of rates over time. Sudden rate increases can significantly impact household budgets. SDCP and SDGE approach rate changes differently.

As a community choice aggregator, SDCP rates are set annually by the board of directors with the goal of providing stable and competitive rates. Their rates have remained quite steady since launching service in 2021. Minor rate adjustments are made to account for changing market conditions, but there have been no dramatic spikes.

SDGE rates fluctuate regularly based on changing wholesale energy costs. Their rates are approved by the California Public Utilities Commission and subject to frequent adjustments through various rate cases and cost recovery applications. Over the past decade, SDGE rates have trended upward significantly, especially during times of high energy demand.

For customers focused on stable rates and want to avoid sudden increases, SDCP’s approach of gradual rate setting is appealing. SDGE’s fluctuating rates make it harder to predict costs from month to month. Evaluating historical rate trends can provide insight into future stability.


After reviewing the pricing structures of SDCP and SDGE, it’s clear that SDCP offers lower rates for most San Diego residents. SDCP’s standard rate is currently around 1-2 cents/kWh cheaper than SDGE across all tiers. This adds up to potential savings of $10-20 per month for the average customer.

The exact savings will depend on each customer’s actual energy usage and rate plan. But in general, SDCP has a pricing advantage over SDGE. SDCP is a new, locally run non-profit aiming to provide clean energy at affordable rates. As a result, their standard rates are very competitive compared to the incumbent utility.

However, there are some exceptions. SDGE has introduced lower rates for seniors and low-income customers, which could make them cheaper for some households. And SDCP charges a 1% exit fee if you ever switch back to SDGE.

Overall though, most San Diego households are likely to save money on their energy bills by switching to San Diego Community Power due to their lower standard rates.


When choosing between San Diego Community Power and San Diego Gas & Electric based solely on pricing and cost, there are a few key factors to consider:

If supporting renewable energy at competitive rates is important, SDCP’s PowerOn plan offering 50% renewable energy may be the better option. SDCP’s standard PowerOn plan rates are very close to SDGE’s, and you’ll be getting a higher renewable energy mix.

If price stability is a high priority, SDGE may be the safer option, as they offer a wider range of fixed rate plans. SDCP rates fluctuate more throughout the year based on energy market conditions.

For typical residential customers who aren’t too concerned about 100% renewable energy, SDCP’s PowerOn plan seems to offer comparable rates to SDGE while also providing cleaner energy. Unless your home uses far more energy than average, the rates are likely to be very similar.

For customers who want 100% renewable energy, SDCP’s Power100 plan, despite costing a few cents more per kWh, is likely the more affordable option compared to SDGE’s EcoChoice plan.

Ultimately, for most customers the pricing is competitive between the two. Consider your priorities in terms of renewable energy mix, rate stability, and support for community-driven energy programs when deciding.

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