California’s biggest utilities are losing their monopolies. Is that a good thing?

San Diego’s decision to go into the power business was the last straw.

Ever since the city’s announcement last year, San Diego Gas & Electric has been telling state lawmakers it wants out of the business of buying and selling electricity. That may sound like a radical plan for a monopoly utility with nearly 1.5 million customers and annual profits that regularly exceed $500 million.

But given the state’s rapidly shifting energy landscape, it might actually make sense.

California’s three big investor-owned utilities — Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric are the other two — are losing a growing number of customers to government-run power providers called community choice aggregators, or CCAs. There’s a good chance the monopoly utilities will lose the vast majority of their energy sales to CCAs and other energy providers over the next few years.

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