Tag Archives: electric bill

Power Shift – Utilities Want Consumer Protections Removed

California is reconsidering landmark consumer protections and energy conservation measures that were written into residential utility bills during the state’s 2000-2001 energy crisis.

State lawmakers and utility regulators are preparing to restructure utility bills for more than 23 million residents.

In San Diego, proposed changes are likely to spread the pain of pending rate increases to more customers and provide relief for big users of home electricity. They also may usher in an unpredictable era of time-based pricing, in which bills hinge on electricity use during a few hours of the day.

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San Diego Gas & Electric views current rates for high-end users as unsustainable and unfair, warning those customers of pending rate hikes last month in a tailored mailing.

Current rates reward conservation by stepping up the price per kilowatt hour for those who use the most in any given month. The arrangement accentuates the savings from green home investments such as energy-efficient windows and light bulbs to rooftop solar arrays.

And all customers are afforded a modest monthly allowance of electricity at below-cost prices.

The price for that allowance has been frozen or capped since the state’s energy crisis, in which market manipulation triggered rolling blackouts and wild wholesale price fluctuations.

Over time, the discount has thrust cost increases for bundled electrical service disproportionately upon large users of home electricity.

The imbalance is set to tip further in September for utility customers in San Diego and southern Orange County, when San Diego Gas & Electric begins the delayed collection of a roughly $500 million revenue increase for the 2012-2015 period.

The trend, regulators and electricity retailers warn, could ultimately threaten the ability to recover revenues to maintain infrastructure and fulfill energy-policy mandates.

Read More at: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jul/12/tp-power-shift/all/?print

Navy Begins Power Metering – Military Families Could Get Power Bill


After never seeing a power bill, San Diego families in military housing will start getting invoices for their electricity use later this year.

They won’t have to cover the entire cost. But military families who crank up the air conditioning or leave all the lights on — at least 10 percent more than the average user — will owe for the excess.

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In Hawaii, the first Navy region to try the power-metering concept in 2011, about a third of military homes receive a monthly invoice averaging more than $60.

On the flip side, energy-saving households get cash back as an incentive. About a third of Hawaii families use less than the average amount and get monthly rebates averaging $57.

All told, the Navy has cut power use by 10.5 percent in Hawaii. About 15 million kilowatt-hours have been conserved, equaling $3.3 million.

The savings in San Diego are expected to be about the same, though electricity is less expensive here. It will cost $3 million to install power meters in older homes that lack them.

The change is driven by a 1998 Pentagon directive that ordered energy conservation at housing complexes managed by public-private joint ventures — in San Diego County, basically all military family housing constructed over the past decade.

Read more at: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/08/tp-navy-begins-power-metering/

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Solar Installers Offer Deals, Gaining Converts

HOLMDEL, N.J. — Jay Nuzzi, a New Jersey state trooper, had put off installing solar panels on his home here for years, deterred by the $70,000 it could cost. Then on a trip to Home Depot, he stumbled across a booth for Roof Diagnostics, which offered him a solar system at a price he couldn’t refuse: free.

Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for you value questions regarding solar.

California: CA homeowners are increasingly choosing to avoid the upfront costs. In California, the country’s largest market, more than 70 percent of residential customers putting in solar this year have opted to sign a lease or power purchase agreement with someone else owning the systems, according to PV Solar Report.

The structure of the deals varies by company and state, but the overall approach is generally the same: Customers agree to pay a fixed monthly charge or rate for all the solar power produced, and the companies that finance the systems pay for the installation and take the value of any tax breaks or renewable energy credits for which the customer would ordinarily be eligible. Some companies concentrate on financing and use local contractors for sales and installation, while others do everything themselves.

Story continued: Mr. Nuzzi had to sign a 20-year contract to buy electricity generated by the roof panels, which he would not own. But the rates were well below what he was paying to the local utility. “It’s no cost to the homeowner — how do you turn it down?” Mr. Nuzzi said on a recent overcast morning as a crew attached 41 shiny black modules to his roof. “It was a no-brainer.”

Similar deals are being struck with tens of thousands of homeowners and businesses across the country. Installers, often working through big-box chains like Home Depot or Lowe’s, are taking advantage of hefty tax breaks, creative financing techniques and a glut of cheap, Chinese-made panels to make solar power accessible to the mass market for the first time. The number of residential and commercial installations more than doubled over the last two years to 213,957, according to Greentech Media, a research firm.


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