Last year, the city of Rancho Mirage launched Rancho Mirage Energy Authority (RMEA): a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program that offers residents and local businesses an alternative to Southern California Edison (SCE), the investor-owned utility.
RMEA allows the city to procure and generate electricity for the community at lower rates than SCE. RMEA’s default choice, Base Choice, saves customers 5% on electricity when compared to SCE (generation rates).
In its first operational year, RMEA has saved the Rancho Mirage community $1.46 million in electricity costs.
Beyond lower electricity rates, RMEA’s “Base Choice” also provides 50% carbon-free energy. Customers may also opt up to the 100% renewable energy choice, Premium Renewable Choice, for a slightly higher cost. The Rancho Mirage City Council has opted up all 160 municipal meters in the city to the Premium Renewable Choice.
As a leader in sustainability, Rancho Mirage is always looking for ways to expand its sustainability efforts and RMEA has proven to be the perfect extension.
Given the sun’s power in the desert, RMEA also wanted to enhance the benefits for solar net metering customers within our community. During the formation of RMEA, the city worked with Renova Energy to ensure RMEA would enhance solar net metering benefits. Thanks to Renova Energy’s involvement and suggestions, RMEA can offer a stronger net metering program for the Rancho Mirage community.
RMEA has also enabled the city to establish a Residential Solar Rebate Program which offers residential customers a $500 rebate to install new solar power systems or expand an existing solar system. Within RMEA’s first year, 191 customers have received $95,500 total in rebates.
RMEA was the sixth CCA program to launch in SCE’s service territory and is currently the only operational CCA in the Coachella Valley. While Rancho Mirage had the opportunity to join regional CCA efforts, the city (after extensive research) determined that launching RMEA would be the best way to serve the community.
Our viewpoint is simple: if we can deliver a better product to our community by doing it ourselves, we do it ourselves. The Rancho Mirage City Council and city staff want to be in a position to ensure our community receives the quality they deserve and rightfully expect. When there is an issue or concern, we want to be in a position to address and fix the issues, instead of deflecting to a regional runaround.
RMEA is a prime example of this viewpoint and the results speak for themselves.
Recently, RMEA secured a renewable energy long-term contract for 22 megawatts of wind power from the windmills in north Palm Springs. RMEA is also expanding local energy efficiency programs for the community. Moving forward, RMEA will continue to find opportunities to expand its renewable energy portfolio in the Coachella Valley.
The city of Rancho Mirage looks forward to lowering our carbon footprint even more and providing rate savings to customers while reinvesting revenues back into the community.
The RMEA has surpassed expectations for year one and the city of Rancho Mirage is excited to continue these efforts on behalf of residents and businesses.
Ted Weill is a member of the Rancho Mirage City Council, and has served on the panel since December 2012. Email him at email@example.com.
Valley Voice: Rancho Mirage residents benefit from city’s community choice power program, by Ted Well, Desert Sun, July 2, 2019.