June 30, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) residential customers will see a 5% reduction in summer pricing to help alleviate concerns about higher energy bills due to hot weather and people spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a pricing reduction that will benefit the majority of SDG&E customers – those who are enrolled in the Time-of-Use (TOU)-DR1 pricing plan, SDG&E’s default turn-on plan. The new pricing will go into effect July 1 and run through Oct. 31 and are applied to all three TOU time periods: on-peak, off-peak, and super off-peak. The decrease in summer pricing will be offset by an increase of 4% during winter pricing months, Nov. 1 through May 31.
“Given the financial hardships the pandemic has caused, providing some bill relief to our customers as summer approaches was a priority for us, and we’re appreciative that the CPUC agreed,” said Dan Skopec, SDG&E’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “We also encourage our customers to take advantage of the assistance and bill relief programs we have available.”
An average SDG&E TOU-DR1 customers using 400 kWh per month could see a bill decrease during the summer of about 5% or $5.80 per month with this change. Those customers on the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program, a bill discount program that offers 30% or more discount on monthly bills, using 400 kWh per month could see a bill decrease close to 5% or $3.96 per month.
This is the second change in summer pricing that SDG&E secured from the CPUC. In April, SDG&E successfully petitioned the CPUC to eliminate seasonal pricing for residential customers on standard tiered pricing plans (non-TOU) to make energy bills more predictable. Historically, SDG&E customers have paid a higher per kilowatt hour cost during summer months, June 1-Nov. 1. By making rates consistent year-round, it will be easier for customers to plan and budget for their utility expenses.
Customer Assistance Programs
In addition to CARE, two other energy bill payment assistance programs are available to those who meet income eligibility criteria. More information is available at sdge.com/assistance.
Customers who are worried about spikes in their summer bills can enroll in a Level Pay Program to smooth out the fluctuations in their monthly bills. And anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bill is encouraged to call SDG&E’s Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements.
Additional Measures Adopted to Ease Summer Bill Volatility
Other changes are also being implemented to ease summer bills for local residents. SDG&E successfully petitioned the CPUC to change the timing of the California Climate Credit for electricity customers, so customers will receive the credit in August and September vs. April and October, to help offset summer bills. In addition, the CPUC recently approved reducing the state-mandated High Usage Charge (HUC) by 30% this summer. The HUC applies to residential customers on standard tiered pricing plans. The HUC reduction will produce noticeable savings for those who use more than 1,000 kWh of energy per month, such as inland customers who need to use their air conditioning for extended periods during hot summer days.