SDG&E – Setting the Stage on Changing Peak Electricty Pricing

Proposed peak pricing would last from 2 to 9 p.m. on workdays during summer and warmer months, and from 5 to 9 p.m. in the winter.

Current peak price time: 11am to 6pm.

When exactly you use electricity will play an increasing role in how much you pay, as California utilities, including San Diego Gas & Electric, lay the groundwork to apply time-based pricing to a broad population of customers.

In a crucial early step, SDG&E wants to shift peak electricity prices to include the early evening hours, when demands for electricity are high and the sun has already set on a growing fleet of solar power plants and rooftop solar arrays.

The time shift, the first in decades, would go into effect at the start of 2015 and initially apply to industrial, commercial and public-agency customers, many already accustomed to dynamic rates.

By then, SDG&E also wants to open the option to households, which account for the majority of electricity demands in San Diego and southern Orange counties, before making it the default billing system by 2018, according to public filings by SDG&E and state utility regulators.

Rooftop solar hit

How residential rooftop customers would eventually fare is unclear.

As state utility regulators take up time-of-use issues, they also are preparing to rewrite the rules for net metering. The solar payoff has been sweetened by California’s steeply tiered rate structure for residential customers — also set for revisions that could reduce solar benefits as soon as July 1, and again next year.

SDG&E asserts that grid-connected solar customers are paying less than the appropriate share of infrastructure costs.

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