Frequently Asked Questions


Desert Community Energy, or DCE, offers customers a choice of electricity providers and the type of electricity they use. DCE was formed under a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) by the cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert and is a community choice aggregator (CCA) as certified by the California Public Utilities Commission. Its purpose is to provide residents and businesses with cleaner, competitively priced electricity while retaining local control, reinvesting revenues and encouraging local job creation, and helping participating cities meet their climate action goals.


Desert Community Energy’s premium product, Carbon Free, is 100% carbon-free and includes energy obtained from local renewable sources. Our economy product, Desert Saver, meets California’s renewable energy requirements and is offered at a savings over Southern California Edison (SCE)’s standard service. More information about DCE’s power sources is available here.



Desert Community Energy began service in Palm Springs in April 2020.


The DCE Board of Directors sets electric generation rates for its customers after they are carefully developed, discussed, evaluated, and approved at public meetings. Because publicly managed CCAs are not-for-profit agencies, they can maintain lower costs because they don’t pay shareholder dividends, investor returns, high corporate salaries, or income taxes like commercial services or investor-owned utilities. To help customers with an easy rate comparison, DCE follows the rate classes used by Southern California Edison.


Community Choice Aggregation programs are authorized by California Assembly Bill 117, which requires automatic customer enrollment with an option for customers to opt-out. This alleviates a burdensome enrollment process for all customers in the CCA’s service area. Customers have a choice to return to Southern California Edison’s bundled service, if they prefer, with a single phone call or click online. The choice is yours.


DCE customers with solar panels installed or a solar application submitted prior to April 15, 2023, can participate in our Net Energy Metering (NEM) Programs that correspond to SCE’s NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 programs, which offers the same rates for your excess energy production as SCE for net surplus generation. Intra-month generation is valued at DCE’s applicable rate. If you are already a NEM customer with SCE, you don’t have to do anything. Your account will automatically be enrolled in DCE’s NEM equivalent program.

Solar applications submitted as of April 15, 2023, are eligible for SCE’s Solar Billing Plan, which is also known as the Net Billing Tariff, or NBT. This program is an update from the previous NEM program, and the rate at which both residential and commercial solar customers are compensated for the excess energy exported to the grid has changed. Please see SCE’s Solar Billing Plan updates here.

Please note, although SCE’s solar program changed from NEM 2.0 to the Solar Billing Plan in April 2023, its billing system for the new rates was not implemented until December 2023. In the interim, customers enrolled in SCE’s Solar Billing Plan were billed under the previous Net Energy Metering rates. This also applies to DCE generation charges within DCE’s Solar Option Program, the equivalent to SCE’s Solar Billing Plan.

DCE’s solar programs are the respective equivalent to NEM 1.0, NEM 2.0, and Solar Billing Plan explained above. As part of DCE’s solar programs, you are billed annually for your energy charges because they can be offset by energy credits over your 12-month billing period. At the close of each month, we’ll tally the amount of grid energy you’ve consumed and contributed. If you have contributed more energy than you have used, you’ll see a credit on your bill for that month’s energy charges. If you have used more energy than you have contributed, you will see a charge for that month’s energy charges. Each May, on your meter read date, the kilowatt usage is evaluated in a true-up. If you used more power than your system generated, you will see a charge for the net amount. If you produced more energy than you used, you will either see a credit toward future use or receive a compensation check if the value of your excess production totals $100 or more.

You will be automatically enrolled in DCE's Carbon Free plan for energy drawn from the grid. DCE’s Carbon Free plan is available at a small premium to SCE’s base rate. With Carbon Free, you are making a difference by helping fight climate change. If you would like to reduce the overall cost of your electricity, you can choose to opt-down to our Desert Saver plan that is less than SCE's base rate. Customers who switch to our Desert Saver pay less on their electricity generation when compared to Southern California Edison (SCE).


DCE is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) governed by a Board of Directors consisting of one locally elected or appointed representative from each of the participating cities: Palm Springs and Palm Desert. The Board schedules regular meetings that are open to the public, ensuring transparency and encouraging community involvement. Formation of a CCA through a JPA does not require contributions from participating member agencies. The assets and liabilities of the CCA program remain separate from those of the participating agencies’ general fund. DCE is administered by a small staff and consultants with relevant energy and utility experience.