In California, Direct Access (DA) is an option that allows eligible customers to purchase electricity directly from a third party provider. DA was suspended in September 2001. Under the suspension, existing DA customers could continue in the program, but no new customers were eligible to shop. In October 2009, a new law created a limited re-opening of DA that the utilities implemented in April 2010. The limited re-opening is available only for non-residential customers and the amount of annual customer usage that can be on DA is capped. Currently PG&E, SCE & SDG&E DA Overall Load Caps are fully subscribed, meaning there’s no room under the caps today.
Under the limited DA reopening rules, non-residential customers may submit their request to enroll in DA during an annual Open Enrollment Window (OEW) Lottery. California’s 2016 DA Open Enrollment Lottery is from Monday, June 13 through Friday, June 17. During this five-business day window, PG&E, SCE and SDG&E will accept Six Month Notices to Transfer to Direct Access (Six Month Notices). Accepted Six Month Notices will be entered into a lottery to determine their random numerical position on the 2017 DA Wait List for potential available 2017 DA load. If DA load becomes available, customers on the 2017 Wait List may begin switching to DA Service in January 2017. Should DA load continue to be available under the Overall DA Load Cap and depending on their 2017 Wait List position, customers may be eligible to switch to DA Service through December 2017.
Should a customer get on the 2017 Wait List and receive notification of acceptance into DA for 2016, they will have the option to decline the opportunity at no risk. Accounts will stay on bundled utility tariff rates. However, if the opportunity is accepted, customers will need to be prepared to act quickly to select a supplier, as there is only a small time window during which a customer’s supplier must submit a Direct Access Service Request (DSAR).
Our analysis shows strong savings opportunities for participating in the DA program in CA. Please contact your Ecova representative if you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, and we will guide you through the process.
In addition, there is a pending Senate Bill (SB 286) that would expand the current DA Load Caps, allowing more customers to take advantage of DA and, if passed, would likely phase in additional load over the next two or three years. (Click here for our prior coverage on SB 286.) Applying for DA during the June 13 – 17 Open Enrollment Window is the best way to be positioned for any new DA openings.
Co-authored by Nick Eshleman and Therese Lavalle
DISCLAIMER. The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not address the unique facts and circumstances of your specific situation and should not be relied on for your particular situation. Therefore, it is highly recommended that before using this information you first obtain the advice of legal counsel regarding implications for your business in relation to the changes in law described above.