Customers of Southern California Edison (SCE) are rushing to switch to solar and lock in grandfathered rates for producing more energy than they use before the company changes its policy March 1st.
The utility company’s amended Time Of Use rate plan will cut the benefits new solar customers receive from producing their own electricity by up to 50 percent and threaten to double the utility bills of those customers that are still on the traditional grid during peak hours.
Time of Use, or TOU as it’s commonly abbreviated, is a pricing model in which power rates vary depending on when a customer uses electricity. During peak times of day when people use more energy, the cost for electricity increases. Designated as “Peak Hours”, Edison currently charges these increased TOU rates from 2 – 8 PM, Monday through Friday, when the cost of a watt more than doubles from $0.22 to $0.47.
Under this policy, if you are generating more energy than you consumer with solar during peak hours, Edison will pay you the increased peak hour rate of $0.47 for adding power back to the grid.
After March 1st, however, Edison will change the peak hours to 4 – 9 PM, during a time when solar generating capacity has drastically declined. Additionally, Edison plans to only pay energy generating customers $0.41 per watt they add back to the grid.
Under Edison’s new TOU policy, homeowners that go solar will have fewer hours of sunlight to generate excess energy with their system, and get paid less for it.
Companies like Go Green Solar can help southern California customers install high effeciency systems on their house and get grandfathered into Edison’s current TOU rate structure for 5 years.
California’s other state utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), has already made a similar TOU change to the one Edison is planning, much to the frustration of homeowners in the area.
Multiple San Diego news outlets, such as San Diego News 8 and The San Diego Tribune, reported that when SDG&E shifted its peak hours from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., customers saw their energy bills more than double.
All southern California utility customers must be on a TOU plan. Switching to solar with Go Green Solar before Edison’s new plan takes effect this March will allow homeowners to get paid more money for the power their energy system generates, but the sun is setting fast on the opportunity to lock in rates.