A spokesperson for Southern California Edison said this week that approximately 10,000 households in West Orange County will be affected by the transition to time-of-use (TOU) billing rates.
According to Ron Gales, Senior Communications Advisor for SCE, beginning in November, about 7,300 households in Cypress served by SoCal Edison will be switched to “Time-of-Use” (TOU) rates, along with 2,200 in La Palma and about 780 in Seal Beach.
“They are among some 347,000 households in Orange County that SCE will transition to TOU rates next month,” he said in a statement.
Readers will want to know: Will they benefit from this change? What options do they have? Those questions are addressed in this story about TOU rates from our Edison web site. Please feel free to run the story in your publication, either partially or in its entirety, along with the attached infographic.
He said one consumer affairs observer called it “one of the most sweeping changes to how [Californians] pay for energy.”
According to Edison’s website, here is what happens:
1. TOU rate plans benefit customers who can shift some or most electricity usage away from times of day when electricity costs more to deliver. Examples include using energy-intensive appliances, charging electric vehicles or programming smart thermostats to adjust home temperatures before or after the 4-9 p.m. “On-Peak” period.
2. TOU rate plans help keep California golden: When customers shift energy usage to morning and midday hours, they tap into an abundance of energy on California’s electric grid coming from cleaner, renewable resources and help to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.
3. They ease pressure on California’s electric grid at key times of day. The renewable energy production from large-scale solar farms, which feeds California’s electric grid during morning and midday hours, declines in the late afternoon, just as the collective demand for power from customers across California increases. To compensate for the decrease in solar production, conventional sources of energy (more costly, not as clean) get ramped up. This transition stresses the electric grid until later in the evening. Customers switching energy usage to “Off-Peak” hours helps relieve that pressure.
Shifting energy use to morning and midday hours taps into cleaner, renewable resources.
4. SCE offers three TOU options for residential customers. Plans include “On-Peak” periods of 4-9 p.m. or 5-8 p.m. and a TOU “Prime” rate plan specifically for customers with plug-in EVs, residential batteries or other clean energy technologies. SCE’s Rate Plan Comparison Tool can help compare options while SCE’s Appliance Energy Use Cost Calculator shifting appliance use to Off-Peak hours.
5. SCE notifies customers by mail before switching their plans. Customers being switched should receive a notification letter from SCE by U.S. mail 60-90 days before their scheduled transition date and a reminder letter 30 days before. Customers who provided SCE their email address and agreed to be contacted may be notified electronically. The notification letter includes a comparison of what customerspay each year currently and what they would pay under TOU rates. Review the comparison carefully to see if you are benefitting from your new rate.
6. Residential customers switched to a TOU plan now through April get 12 months of bill protection. If you pay more on a TOU rate plan for the first 12 months than you would have paid on your previous tiered rate plan, SCE will provide you a one-time bill credit for the difference. (Does not apply to TOU Prime.)
• TOU rate plans benefit customers who can shift electricity usage away from times of day when electricity costs more to deliver.
7. Residential customers can opt out before their scheduled transition date. Simply return the reply card included with their notification letter, or complete the online form, or phone SCE’s dedicated TOU line at 877-287-2140. Customers can also choose to opt out after their scheduled transition date.
8. Some SCE residential customers will not be switched to TOU rate plans, including those:
• Located in state-defined hot climate zones who are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs.
• Enrolled in the Medical Baseline program.
• Who’ve notified SCE that they are people with disabilities.
• Who’ve opted out of TOU rate plans during previous transition periods .
• Who started service after Oct. 1, 2020.
However, joint customers of SCE and a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) will be included.
Learn more at sce.com/rates