Energy Policy

California Direct Access Lottery to Take Place in June

California legislation caps the number of business customers that may select a retail energy supplier. Legislation, Senate Bill (SB 237), passed in September 2018 increases the cap on the state’s Direct Access program, allowing more California businesses to take advantage of the benefits that come with energy choice.

Since 2009, California has offered a Direct Access program that allows some commercial and industrial energy customers to buy their electricity from an Electric Service Provider (ESP) such as Constellation rather than from the state’s three biggest utility companies, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric. However, current law caps participation in each of these utility service territories.

SB 237, authored by California Senator Robert Hertzberg, expands that cap, allowing more businesses to take advantage of the program that already benefits many schools, universities, hospitals, government agencies, retail and manufacturing businesses.

Currently, the existing cap is managed through a wait list. The wait list is reset for each calendar year when customers who are interested in Direct Access submit their requests for service into the lottery, and via a random process, are assigned a position on the wait list that remains in place for the ensuing calendar year. When and if room opens under the cap, the space is offered to customers on the wait list in the order that resulted from the random position assignments.

Here are three questions you may have as you consider taking Direct Access service.

How Does the 2019 Direct Access Lottery Work?

As noted, above, the Direct Access program is currently capped in each utility service territory, so customers must participate in the annual lottery to become eligible. Load will be allocated to customers based on where they rank on that list. The wait list is reset each year based on the results of that year’s lottery. Therefore, customers must reapply for a place on the wait list each year. The 2019 lottery process will take place from June 10-14, 2019.

How Do I Sign Up for Direct Access in the Lottery Process?

Criteria for the next lottery process (subject to change) created in June 2019 for service to start on June 1, 2021, include:

1) submissions on or after 9:00 a.m. PDT on June 10, no later than 5:00 p.m. PDT on June 14; and

2) one submission per customer. Each utility maintains its own process and email address for submissions.

What Are the Advantages of Selecting Constellation as Your Electric Service Provider?

Greater energy choice brings potential advantages for customers, including competitive prices, better customer service and customized products and services that allow customers to have more control over their energy usage and costs. Constellation offers a comprehensive portfolio of energy management solutions for businesses in California. We offer numerous pricing strategies, including the ability to fix the price you pay for electricity to give you greater budget certainty and the ability to purchase at both fixed and index rates.

In addition, Constellation offers customers the flexibility when it comes to taking advantage of renewable energy. All retail suppliers, including ESPs, must meet California’s new mandate to generate 50 percent of their total energy from renewable sources by 2030. Indeed, when SB 237 is enacted as currently written, that new Direct Access load will have to meet a renewable standard that exceeds the currently mandated levels.

For example, through our solar solutions, Constellation installs an on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) asset at no upfront cost to the customer and typically retains solar facility ownership risk, handling operation and maintenance. The customer signs a contract with Constellation to purchase the electricity generated by the solar PV system. Learn more.


To ensure our customers have an accurate review of the process, Constellation will host a Direct Access webinar on May 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. During the webinar, we will review the process and the documents required if a customer is selected into the initial phase of re-opening as well as for customers to secure a queue position in the June 2019 lottery for service beginning in 2021.

Register now

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