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Direct Access FAQ

    What is the Direct Access (DA) Program?

    California utilities provide electricity to homes and businesses by generating the power, transmitting it through major power lines, and then distributing it through smaller power lines. The DA Program gives you the option to purchase your power from marketers and power brokers called electric service providers (ESPs).  SDG&E will continue to provide reliable transmission and distribution services to you, including to those customers who choose DA service.

    Who do DA customers call in case of an electric emergency?

    You should call the SDG&E Business Contact Center for emergencies and service at 1-800-336-7343. SDG&E will continue to respond to electric safety calls and maintain the electric delivery system serving your business.

    Why does SDG&E offer the DA program?

    SDG&E supports customer choice and encourages you to evaluate all options. Regardless of which energy supply choice you make, SDG&E remains committed to providing safe and reliable delivery of energy.

    Who is eligible to participate in the DA program?

    Subject to the rules established for the limited re-opening of DA, all non-residential customers, as shown in the table below, are eligible to participate in the DA program.

    Customer Class

    Qualifying Rate Schedules

    Small Commercial

    A, A-TC

    Medium & Large Commercial/Industrial

    AD, A-TOU, AY-TOU, AL-TOU,  
    AL-TOU-DER, OL-TOU, PA-T-1, DG-R, A6-TOU

    Agricultural

    PA

    Lighting

    LS-1, LS-2, LS-3, OL-1, DWL, OL2, OL-TOU

    Except for customers currently receiving DA Service, residential customers are not eligible to participate in the DA program.

    How does the DA program work?

    The ESP has the full responsibility of procuring wholesale power to resell to their customers and paying any ancillary charges owed to the California Independent System Operator.

    After you select your new provider, the ESP will submit a Direct Access Service Request (DASR) to request the service change to the new ESP.  Services will be transferred to DA service on the next meter read date and you will receive power from the new provider until the account closes or until you decide to return to SDG&E service.

    How do customers know who the participating ESPs are?

    The California Public Utilities Commission provides a list of the Electric Service Providers that have met the CPUC registration requirements.

    How do customers sign up for the DA program?

    Subject to the rules established for the limited re-opening of DA, you’ll need to give SDG&E 6 months advance notice in order to transfer to DA service by completing and submitting a 6-Month Advance Notice to Transfer to Direct Access form.  Upon expiration of the 6-month notice period, your ESP can submit a Direct Access Service Request (DASR) on your behalf to transfer from SDG&E supplied power to the new ESP.  

    Who bills DA program customers?

    The ESP can offer one or more of the following three billing options:

    • ESP Consolidated Billing:  A consolidated customer bill from your ESP that will have both ESP and SDG&E charges on the same bill but detailed separately.
    • UDC Consolidated Billing:  A consolidated customer bill from SDG&E that will have both ESP and SDG&E charges on the same bill but detailed separately.
    • Dual Billing:  Two bills: one from the ESP for power charges and one from SDG&E for transmission, distribution, CTC public purpose programs charges (such as low-income assistance program), and other utility charges (such as franchise fees that apply).
    Will the DA program save customers money?

    ESPs purchase power from a number of different sources and through a variety of contractual arrangements that can be priced differently than the cost of SDG&E's power. Some ESPs may offer a guaranteed fixed price over a period of time, but SDG&E charges a monthly price which matches that month's cost of power. ESPs may also offer a price that is indexed below the SDG&E price or may offer attractive pricing options with incentives and/or service conveniences. You should investigate the various options offered by different ESPs to determine which option meets your needs.  Be sure to examine the extent of possible savings based on the ESPs ability to purchase power at a cost lower than SDG&E. SDG&E does not guarantee that a customer who takes DA service will save moneys.

    Can SDG&E match an ESP’s offer?

    The CPUC regulates all rates for SDG&E.  SDG&E is not permitted to set power prices for a particular customer to match or beat the price being offered by an ESP.

    What advice can SDG&E offer on selecting an ESP?

    Customers should check the ESP’s customer service history and credit standings just as they would with any other business relationship that they enter into. SDG&E is prohibited from recommending any participating ESP.

    What can customers do if they are not happy with their ESP?

    You are free to switch between energy services providers or, with notice 6 months in advance, you can return to SDG&E bundled service. 

    To switch from one service provider to another, you can ask the new service provider to submit a DASR on your behalf and you will be switched to your new provider on your next meter read date.

    If I am on DA, how do I return to SDG&E bundled service?

    Direct Access customers that wish to return to SDG&E bundled service must provide a (6-Month Notice to return to Bundled Portfolio Service BPS).

    Customers can stay on DA during the advance notice period or they can choose to return immediately.  If they choose to return to service provided by SDG&E prior to the expiration of the 6-month advance notice period, they will be placed on transitional bundled service until the 6-month advance notice period has been completed.  Customers returning to bundled service make an eighteen month commitment and will not be eligible to return to DA service until their eighteen month period has completed, subject to the rules established for the limited re-opening of DA.

    Who can I contact for more information?

    You can contact SDG&E at 800-336-7343, a SDG&E Commercial Customer Service Representative will be happy to assist you.

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