Where does your electricity come from?

SDG&E Energy Source Breakdown

Where does your electricity come from?

The idea of energy deregulation was recently brought to my attention at a chance encounter with an old friend. The whole movement makes sense for keeping the cost of electricity fair through market competition and the balance of supply and demand.

After chatting for a few moments, we exchanged contact information and went our separate ways, but what I was left with was a realization that I didn’t really know where my electricity came from, or where a competitive company’s would come from, for that matter. So I Googled it and found a press release from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The chart above is the breakdown of energy supplied in 2013, broken down by source. But where does it come from?!

Have a look at this SDG&E Electric Generation Fact Sheet.

If you live in San Diego, chances are you get your electricity from SDG&E. Having paid utility bill for years as an adult, what I didn’t know was that SDG&E doesn’t generate all the electricity itself. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of deregulation and the California Electricity Crisis (because that would be boring, but mainly because I still don’t completely understand it) SDG&E generates and contracts generation facilities to supply the electricity while functioning as the distributor across San Diego County. Even so, it’s still kind of a monopoly. BUT, that may be changing soon, albeit at a limited pace. If you really, really want to get electricity generated from a third party through what is called Direct Access, you can, but it’ll take some effort (you’ll still have to rely on SDG&E to deliver that energy to your home, though).

Personally, I’ve been very satisfied with the service I get from SDG&E. It took some effort and time, but they rectified a major billing error that had me paying for a different apartment unit over the course of a few years! Calling in over the phone can be a hassle, but customer service was very responsive via Twitter, so thumbs up for their social media department. Plus, I don’t use very much electricity at all, so my costs are relatively low, especially with the bi-annual Climate Credit Rebates.

The only motivation I would have to tap a third-party energy supplier is to increase the percentage of electricity I use that comes from renewable resources. If deregulation expands, powering my home with 100% renewable-resource sourced electricity is something I would pay a premium for (within reason). Opening the market will give consumers a choice and a monetary means of voicing their priorities regarding energy generation. It’s kind of exciting and something to look forward to.

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