DEL MAR — Following suit with their partner cities Carlsbad and Solana Beach in the Clean Energy Alliance, the Del Mar City Council agreed to a default energy supply product option for the soon-to-launch community choice energy program.
Del Mar was the last of the three cities that make up the Clean Energy Alliance to decide on the default option for its city but it opted in a 3-2 vote to choose the 50% renewable and 75% carbon-free energy option for its customers, the same default chosen by the other two member cities in the Clean Energy Alliance.
The option is a mid-tier choice allowing customers to either opt-up to a 100% renewable energy option at a premium or opt-down to a simple 50% renewable option with some savings.
The board debated on the pros and cons of the options at their regular meeting Monday night with those voting against stating concerns that giving too many options to residents new to the community choice program would lead to them opting out entirely.
“It really comes down to the question do we want to give Del Mar customers the more complex menu, or the more straightforward menu,” Mayor Terry Gaasterland who voted no on the motion said. “CEA depends on customers staying with CEA and not opting out entirely to SDG&E. So my inclination is simpler is better.”
Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden, along with councilmembers Dan Quirk and Tracy Martinez, were the members who voted yes on the motion.
Worden made his case several times during the comment portion of the agenda item that opting for the mid-tier option delivered the most choice to Del Mar residents.
“The difference in cost is about $.35 a month on your typical residential home bill. If that is really going to cause anybody heartburn it’d be simple for them to opt-down,” Worden said. “But if we don’t start them there then they won’t have access to that at all.”
There was also agreement amongst supporting members that being in line with their partners in Clean Energy Alliance would be beneficial and efficient.
“I think that this is marketed with Solana Beach and Carlsbad that there is a lot of validity to going with this option so everything is the same,” Councilmember Quirk said.
Residents in all three cities will soon receive mailers explaining the new options they will have with their energy bill and it will be critical for each city to clearly explain each option they have with the new program.
“The communication to them has to be really clear with their options to opt up or down,” Councilmember Martinez said. “Make it crystal clear with no ambivalence as easy as we can for people to understand what their options are.”
Deputy Mayor Worden is certain the residents of Del Mar will be able to handle the changes and new options the city has given them with their power bill.
“I think the people of Del Mar are smart enough; they can deal with three choices,” Deputy Mayor Worden said.