Direct Access (DA) is a retail service where customers behind PG&E, SDG&E, and SoCal Edison can purchase electricity from a competitive third-party provider, called an Electric Service Provider (ESP), rather than from a regulated electric utility.

Is Direct Access a New Program?

Direct Access has been around in California since 1998; it was enacted as part of electric deregulation. The program was suspended in 2001 after the program created a power crisis in the West, and no new customers were allowed to sign up. In April 2010, the California Senate passed a bill allowing partial reopening of the DA program for non-residential customers. The limited availability is awarded through a lottery system, generally an annual occurrence. If no space is available, a lottery is held for the waitlist.

How does Direct Access Work?

Business customers who are accepted into the Direct Access (DA) program, through the annual lottery process, can choose to purchase their power from a qualified Electric Service Provider (ESP)/supplier. DA enables customers to shop and compare electric rates and services. It allows customers to fix/lock their price of energy; not an option available through the utility. Your utility will continue to deliver the electricity through its transmission and distribution network. Once you are a Direct Access customer, you remain a DA customer until you choose not to be.

The Lottery Process

Entering the DA lottery is risk-free. If a customer declines the award, there is no charge to the utility service. If notified by the utility that your lottery number has been chosen, you have 15 days to accept. If you do accept, but do not actually enroll within 45 days or a date assigned by the utility, you are considered a “returning customer”. This could be viewed as a penalty. Returning customers must stay on utility service for 18 months before they can sign up for the lottery again. The customer will pay a market-based rate (Transitional Bundled Service) for 6 months before going back to tariff service. Anyone who is not assigned DA is put on a waiting list. That waiting list expires each calendar year on December 31st.

If you have any questions regarding Direct Access or would like help with the lottery process, please email