Learn More About Direct Access


Understanding the Roles

An Electric Service Provider (ESP) contracts directly with customers to provide electric service and has the same obligations and responsibilities for renewable generation and resource adequacy as any other Load Serving Entity (LSE). ESPs typically offer competitive pricing and/or specialized products and services not available from a traditional utility. Under California Law, an ESP must be registered with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or Commission).

SCE and ESP Direct Access activities are governed by SCE’s Rule 22 and Rule 22.1.

Direct Access (DA) was suspended by the CPUC on September 20, 2001. Until October 11, 2009, activity was limited to qualified ESP to ESP switches, Customer Relocations and Replacements, and Account Assignments. On October 11, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill (SB) 695 into law. SB 695 contains DA provisions that will allow retail end-use (non-residential) customers to acquire electric service from ESPs in California subject to the rules established by the CPUC in Decision 10-03-022.

All ESPs planning to participate in DA should develop an understanding of the California electricity market restructuring process identified in CPUC Decision (D.) 10-03-022. We recommend that ESPs review the Direct Access (ca.gov) for further information on DA.

SCE’s Role in Generation, Transmission, and Distribution

For DA customers, generation is solely provided by the ESP.

SCE continues to own its transmission facilities, but has turned operational control of these facilities over to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). The CAISO operates the overall transmission system to ensure that all generation suppliers have equal opportunity to send their electricity through the transmission system to consumers, and to maintain the balance between the supply and demand for electricity. The CAISO also assumes responsibility for the safety and reliability of the transmission system.

ESPs’ Role in Generation, Transmission, and Distribution

ESPs are responsible for providing the generation portion of their electricity for their respective DA customers.

ESPs do not provide the transmission and distribution of electricity to their DA customers. The transmission and distribution continues to be provided by SCE.

ESPs have the option of offering metering and billing services to their customers. If the ESP prefers, SCE will continue to provide these services at a fee. Customers who are currently enrolled with an ESP and have questions regarding their ESP charges and services should contact their ESP directly.

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