Frequently Asked Questions

BASICS

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 jobs, and helping participating cities to meet their climate action goals.

ENERGY

Desert Community Energy's standard product, Desert Saver, comes from 35% renewable and 50% carbon-free sources. Our premium product, Carbon Free, comes from 50% renewable and 100% carbon-free sources.

TIMING

Desert Community Energy will launch service in Palm Springs in late 2020. Palm Desert and Cathedral City are considering launching service in 2021.

RATES & BILLING

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. To date, existing CCAs in California offer competitive electric generation rates, currently ranging from 2%-6% lower than investor-owned utility (IOU) rates, depending on the customer class and service option each customer chooses. The DCE Board will adjust once per year 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 don’t pay shareholder dividends, investor returns, high corporate salaries or income taxes like commercial services or investor-owned utilities, all of which lowers costs even further. Initial studies estimate that a CCA program could save ratepayers millions of dollars over the next 20 years.

ENROLL / OPT OUT

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 up to you.

SOLAR / NEM

DCE customers with solar panels will be offered the choice to participate in our Net Energy Metering (NEM) program. Details are under development and will be posted on this website as the launch date approaches.

GOVERNANCE

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 Joint Powers Authority 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 with relevant energy and utility experience.