Frequently Asked Questions


Desert Community Energy, or DCE, offers ratepayers a choice in electricity providers and in the type of electricity they use. DCE was formed by the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Cathedral City 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 largely obtained from local renewable sources. Our standard product, Desert Saver, is 35% renewable, and will be offered at competitive rates with Southern California Edison’s standard service.


Desert Community Energy began service in Palm Springs in April 2020. Palm Desert is considering launching service.


The DCE Board of Directors will set electric generation rates for its customers after they are carefully developed, discussed, evaluated and approved at public meetings. The DCE Board will adjust rates quarterly at an open public meeting—less frequently than most IOUs—offering a greater measure of rate stability compared to IOUs. Because publicly managed CCAs are not-for-profit agencies, they are able to 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 plans to follow 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 can participate in our Net Energy Metering (NEM) program, 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 program.

As part of DCE’s NEM program, 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. If you used more power than your system generated, you will see a charge for the net amount.

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 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 governed by a Joint Powers Association (JPA) with a Board of Directors comprised of one local elected representative from each of the participating city councils.  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 will be administered by a small staff and consultants with relevant energy and utility experience.