Edison substation in Santa Barbara.
The City of Santa Barbara plans to launch a clean energy program that buys energy elsewhere and delivers it through Southern California Edison procurement lines. The city has an Edison substation on Gutierrez Street. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Clean energy is coming to Santa Barbara.

The City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to approve a rate structure for Community Choice Energy.

Three tiers of service will be offered to residential and commercial customers, but all customers will automatically be opted into the program. Those who want out will have to opt out separately.

“It’s truly a great project and a great way to move forward in meeting our renewable energy goals,” Councilman Eric Friedman said.

The city will join the California Choice Energy Authority to purchase mostly renewable energy and distribute it through Southern California Edison transmission lines. 

Southern California Edison will continue to maintain the infrastructure; the city is not taking over control of the poles and wires.

It will generate about $10 million for the partial fiscal year of 2022 and $24 million in 2023.

For those who do not opt out of the program, the monthly rate for electricity will increase from about $3 to $5 per month for residential, between 4% and 7% for commercial, 9% for industrial and about 6% for agriculture.

The city plans a public relations blitz in August, and the service will go into effect in October for residential and next March for commercial.

“In order to set up the CCE programs for success, we’re going to default every customer into the program, and they have the option to leave the program should they choose to do so,” said Alelia Parenteau, climate and energy manager. 

The city plans to offer three options.

The 100 Percent Green option is the most expensive and includes 100% carbon-free energy. The Green Start program uses mostly carbon-free content and is the same cost as Edison. The Resilient program includes net metering, for those who have or plan to install solar, and can receive a payback for energy contribution to the system. 

“The really great benefit to CCE is that it is all about choice,” Parenteau said. “Currently, the consumer can only go to Southern California Edison for their electric service and generation options. This gives them three options.”

None of the options uses 100% renewable energy because the city plans to use large hydrogen, which is carbon free but not renewable. 

“I could not be more excited about this,” Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon said. “It is just so exciting to have local control, to be able to diversify how we are procuring local energy, and to be doing right by our citizens and residents.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.