Changes are coming to your power bill. The changes could result in higher bills.
San Diego Gas and Electric is the first power company in the state to adopt Time of Use plans, meant to lower energy use during peak hours of the day by increasing energy prices during high-use hours between 4pm and 9pm.
Prior to today, March 1, the Time of Use plans were offered as an option for customers to alter their energy usage in hopes of saving money. But now energy companies across the state are mandated to switch to the plans, San Diego Gas and Electric is the first to do so.
So, what do the new plans mean for customers?
It means energy rates during summer could jump from $.22 cents an hour during off-peak hours to $.44 cents an hour during the hours between 4pm and 9pm.
“The plans are intended to encourage conservation when there’s less renewable energy on the grid,” said SDG&E communications manager Wes Jones.
“We're encouraging people to keep up with their daily routine. it's just thinking about those large appliances like your dishwasher, your laundry and maybe shifting the time of day you use some of those things and that's going to translate into some savings in your bill.”
One group that could be impacted most by the change to Time of Use plans are those customers with solar panels. The vast majority of the energy they generate will occur in non-peak hours of the day, meaning they will see a substantially lower rate for energy produced before 4pm.
"If solar customers can perhaps pair up their solar system with battery storage, that can be a great way for consumers to save energy, keep it charged and then use it when they come home in the evening," said Ed Lopez, Executive Director for the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN).
From now until next year, SDG&E customers will receive a shadow bill which will show what they would have paid under their previous plans.
SDG&E told NBC 7 that those customers who end up paying more under the Time of Use plan will get a credit for the difference in the first year.