California Direct Access Lottery: Deadline Approaching4 min read
In our recent webinar, we provided an update on the California Direct Access (DA) program and annual lottery. Recall that the utilities had confirmed the status of the cap was as follows:
Discussions ensued on how the remaining space would be filled and focused on whether open space would be offered to customers on the current 2020 waiting list (created in June 2019) or to customers on the new waiting list (to be created in June 2020), and the timeline around space offers and acceptance.
We had several questions around the timing and how space will be allocated, and below is a summary for customers with Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) accounts. It is important to note that we are still awaiting full confirmation from the utilities on these details of the process of using the lottery results to fill the remaining cap but wanted to share with you what we know at this point as you get ready to submit your accounts into the upcoming lottery.
SCE Customer Process
In August, we expect SCE customers on the 2020 waiting list (created for the June 2019 lottery) will be sent a notice that they have 15 business days to accept or reject the offer of space under the direct access cap. Offers will be sent to these customers up to the point that the offers, if they are accepted, fill the remaining cap.
If a customer offered space accepts the space, that customer has 45 calendar days to submit direct access service request (“DASR”) paperwork. The paperwork required will be different than the normal DASR process, which is done with an electronic submission because SCE systems cannot accept electronic DASRs so far in advance of when service will begin. SCE has told us, however, that they will make sure the paperwork is ultimately entered into their electronic system later on in 2021 prior to the January 1, 2022, service start date.
The timing of the process for filling the space under the cap should allow for several rounds of offers1 before the end of 2020 and hopefully the cap will be filled. However, if the space is not filled by the 2020 waiting list, SCE currently says that more cap space will not be offered until after the 2022 waiting list is created during the June 2021 lottery, and service for those customers will not begin until January 1, 2023.
Because SCE intends to fill the remaining cap from the existing 2020 waiting list, this means that the upcoming lottery has “less importance” for customers in the SCE territory, but nevertheless they should sign up because no one knows what may happen in terms of further direct access expansion or other changes.
PG&E Customer Process
PG&E has said that they will send notices to customers on the 2021 waiting list (created by this upcoming lottery that begins June 8, 2020) in late August or early September 2020. Customers will have 15 business days to accept or reject the offer of space under the direct access cap. Offers will be sent to customers on the waiting list up to the point that the offers, if they are all accepted, will fill the remaining cap. If a customer offered space accepts the space, they will then have 45 (possibly 60) calendar days to complete the DASR process.
As with SCE, the timing of the process for filling the space under the cap should allow for several rounds of offers1 before the end of 2020 and hopefully the cap will be filled. Because PG&E will be filling the remaining space from the waiting list created in this upcoming lottery, this means that it has “much more importance” for customers.
Process If Space Is Accepted, but DASR Is Not Completed
With respect to what happens if a customer accepts space under the cap but does not complete the DASR process, it is our current understanding that the customer will have relinquished its space under the cap and it will be offered to the next customer on the waiting list. However, the customer that has not completed the DASR process will not be required to take service under the transitional bundled service (TBS) rate schedule, nor will the customer be subject to an 18-month minimum stay, as had been the rules prior to the direct access expansion.
If a customer that is currently being served by a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) accepts space under the cap but does not complete the DASR process, it is our understanding that the customer remains on its same CCA service.
It’s Important to Participate in the CA Lottery Process
Signing up in the lottery between June 8 – 12, 2020 carries no risk for customers. If you are selected and offered space, you can decline within 15 business days and remain on your existing service without any penalty or cost. Constellation is here to help with your lottery submission, so please contact your Constellation Business Development Manager or email our team at CaliforniaLottery@constellation.com.
In addition, you can visit our customer resource page that provides FAQs, all the utility forms, and a recording of our webinar.
1 Multiple rounds of offers would be needed in the event the customers in the first round of offers do not accept the space and complete the DASR process.