SDGE Rolls Out New Pricing Policy
Last updated 3/12/2019 at 2:34pm
San Diego Gas & Electric will be rolling out a new “Time of Use” (TOU) pricing plan, starting in March, to 750,000 customers. Approximately 75,000 – 150,000 customers per month will be moved to TOU plans, and the program will be fully implemented by mid-2020. However, “A vast majority of Borregans won’t be affected by the new pricing plan,” according to Wes Jones, SDG&E Communications Manager for Media Relations.
That “vast majority” of Borregans are already participating in, or qualified to participate in SDG&E’s CARE (California Alternative Rates for Energy) and/or FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance) programs. Even if only qualified for these programs without actually participating, those residents will not be part of the new pricing rollout. They may, however, according to Jones, enter the TOU program later if it’s more economical for them to do so.
The first 100,000 SDG&E customers have already been notified for inclusion. Since roll-out will not be done from, say, west to east, but rather according to internal SDGE metrics, those few Borrego Springs residents who would be covered may not be included in any one particular TOU activation period.
The new TOU plan is part of a California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) initiative to support the state’s continuing shift to clean energy, according to the SDGE press release. TOU plans are designed to encourage a cleaner power grid by using energy when renewable resources, like Solar power, are readily available.
Customers outside the CARE and FERA programs may choose to keep their existing plan and “opt out” of the new plan, but they should know that the new TOU Plan makes certain improvements over previous ones: 1) Two ways to save – shifting electricity use to lower cost hours of the day, before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m., and/or by reducing overall usage; and 2) Existing customers who are transitioning can try a new TOU plan risk-free for up to one year; if they end up spending more on energy than when they were on their original plan, they will receive an automatic bill credit for the difference after the one-year period.
Of great significance to Borregans was Jones noting that SDGE sent a request to the PUC back in late-November to allow SDGE to eliminate the current high-usage energy charges on hot days for areas designated “hot zones”; Borrego Springs is one of them. Borregans are under increasing financial pressure when temps top out above 110-F and remain for extended periods, resulting in sky-high energy bills, even when thermostats are set very high.
Last summer, Borrego experienced over 100 straight days when the maximum daily temperature never dropped below 100-F., and five days straight at or above 115-F. SDGE is awaiting a response from the PUC before April so that rate relief for Borregans, if approved, will be in place before the start of another blistering hot summer here in our “hot zone.”