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Santa Barbara community choice energy program coming soon, residents will be opted in

Courtesy: City of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Clean Energy will launch in October for residents.

Santa Barbara residents can expect to find information in their mailboxes this week about their new energy options as the city prepares to transition to its new community choice program.

Santa Barbara Clean Energy is the City’s new locally-controlled electricity provider, which will launch in October for residents.

People will automatically be enrolled in the program but will be able to choose their energy options or opt out of the program entirely.

Alelia Parenteau is the city’s energy and climate manager. She said this new program is like many already implemented in other cities across the state and here on the Central Coast.

Southern California Edison (SCE) will still be in charge of transferring the energy to homes, maintaining the poles and wires and billing residents. But this program allows the city to take over purchasing the power.

“The benefit is that we then take over the contracting,” Parenteau said. “We have very clear climate goals and so we take over and start buying much cleaner energy. So our default product, what everybody will be automatically enrolled into, is a 100 percent carbon-free product.”

Parenteau said the power will come from renewables like solar, wind and hydro-power that utilize battery storage and will help the city meet its 2035 carbon neutrality goal.

The energy options available are 100% Green, Green Start and Resilient.

Most residents will be automatically enrolled in 100% Green, which gives them completely carbon-free energy for about $5 more each month. Residents can opt to change their option to Green Start, which provides about half as much carbon-free energy without the extra charge. Residents with solar energy will be enrolled in the Resilient program which pays back more than SCE.

Parenteau said residents can opt out of the program entirely but she hopes people have all the information before making that decision.

“This is a proven organizational structure throughout California that has been really successful at reinvesting in the community and meeting those climate goals,” Parenteau said.

Residential customers will receive two mailers outlining options prior to the October launch and two mailers after the launch. Commercial service will begin in March 2022. Business customers will also receive four mailers outlining service options beginning in December 2021.

For more information, click here.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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