Solar panels generate electricity at the 50-megawatt Seville solar farm at Allegretti Ranch, in western Imperial County off Highway 78.

Rancho Mirage is saying goodbye to Southern California Edison.

Starting in a few months, local officials will decide where to buy energy for the city’s 18,000 residents — a change they say will lower electricity bills by 5 percent, and allow environmentally minded residents to buy cleaner energy than they’d get from Edison.

Rancho Mirage’s decision to launch a “community choice” energy program, which was approved by the City Council on Thursday, reflects a dramatic, ongoing shift in how Californians get electricity. Cities and counties across the state are looking to reduce electricity bills, boost clean energy and gain independence from traditional utilities by launching community choice programs, which allow local leaders to make electricity-buying decisions themselves. Investor-owned utilities like Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric are required to transmit the electricity over their wires and send out bills, but local officials decide where to buy energy and how much to charge.

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