SCE transitions residential customers to new rate plans

Washing machines are appliances that Southern California Edison suggests using during non-peak hours. Courtesy
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Southern California Edison will transition 2.3 million residential customers from tiered rates to time-of-use plans, with transitions starting in November and continuing until April. 

According to an Edison notification letter sent to Santa Clarita residents, the purpose of the transition is to lower costs using renewable energy sources, which are more abundant and cost-effective to deliver to customers during off-peak hours.  

“The rates are designed to encourage people to use more energy when it’s less expensive, cleaner and more abundant on the grid,” SCE spokesman Ron Gales said. 

More than 9,700 residential customers in the greater Santa Clarita Valley are scheduled to switch to TOU rates by February with more potentially scheduled. 

“The schedules for March and April aren’t yet finalized, so residents in these cities who weren’t included in the February wave may be part of switches taking place in those later months,” Gale said. 

As stated on the SCE website, you will be automatically be transitioned to a TOU rate plan if you take no action.  

The process to transition residential customers’ time-of-use rates is a statewide effort with other utility companies doing similar transitions since 2017, according to Gales.  

Notifications will be sent out 60 to 90 days before your account transitions to the TOU rate plan, and if you want to keep your current rate plan, you can fill out a form on SCEs website, mail the attached reply form, or call 877-287-2140. 

The notification letter will include your current yearly plan costs and show what a customer would pay under a TOU plan. You may switch plans twice in the 12 months following the transition.  

According to SCE, two TOU options can benefit customers who can shift electrical usage before 5 p.m. or after 8 p.m. The third TOU option is Prime, meant for households with an electric vehicle, residential batteries or an electric heat pump system for water or space heating. 

“So there are actually more options now for customers to choose what kind of rate plan is best suited for their individual lifestyle,” Gale said. 

The abundance of renewable energy due to utility-scale solar, or very large solar farms, drives the cost down, passing along those savings to customers. When renewable energy options decline, the California Independent System Operator begins to provide a less clean and more expensive energy source during on-peak hours, according to Gales. 

Dishwashers are appliances that Southern California Edison suggests using during non-peak hours. Courtesy

Customers switching to a TOU plan will receive 12 months of bill protection; if you pay more on a TOU plan for the first year than in previous tiered plans then SCE will provide a one-time credit for the difference. However, this plan does not apply to TOU Prime customers. 

According to SCE, specific residential customers in “high-temperature regions, like the high and low deserts and eastern parts of Edison’s service territory,” will not be switched to TOU rate plans; customers enrolled in California alternate rates for energy and family electric rate assistance programs will remain the same. 

Additionally, those who are enrolled in a medical baseline program, have notified SCE they are people with disabilities, opted out of TOU rate plans in previous transition periods, or started service after Oct. 1, 2020, will not be switched. 

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