Don’t Turn On Your Lights – New SDG&E ‘Tier’ Billing Begins

by on March 1, 2019 · 11 comments

in Energy, Ocean Beach

The Old Broad Cautions Her Readers

So today begins the new “gouging” by SDG&E.  Their “tier” structure for billing begins and if you are not careful it is going to cost you more than keeping the old light bulbs.

This new plan, called “Time of Use” will work this way:

There will be “off peak” and “on peak” hours.  And even though it is “optional” – you will automatically be placed in one of the two plans. You CAN opt out if you want to do so.

The “on peak” hours – the most expensive, will be from 4:00pm to 9:00pm.  Now let me get this straight.  That is the time that most of us are coming home from work. That is the time that most of us are cooking our dinner – some people, like me, using an electric stove. That is the time that our kids are home doing homework; taking baths or showers; and even watching a few hours of television.  Got that? That is the MOST EXPENSIVE time in the new plan.  In the “off peak” plan the cost per kilowatt hour will be about 22 cents.  In the “on peak” time it will be double.

SDG&E says that they are encouraging people to not change their daily routine – too much.  But think about the large appliances, like a dishwasher, laundry, etc. that you do when you come home from work. You use them between 4-9 and you will be paying the salary of one of their workers single handled.  What they are banking on is that if you shift the use of those appliances to “off peak” times, you will save a bundle of money.  And the hope is that energy will be conserved.

Here’s a bummer for me – I had solar put in last summer. Have not even begun to reap the benefits that I was supposed to get from it. SDG&E says that “solar generates more energy in 0ff-peak hours, so customers with solar could lose money because the energy their panels create will be compensated at a lower rate.”

What they want solar customers to do is to “pair up their solar system with battery storage.  Doing that will be a great way for ‘consumers to save energy, keep it charged, and then use it when they come home in the evening’.”  Great idea.  I don’t have a back up battery unit. It was never discussed when I gave the go-ahead to install the solar.  Instead of a “monkey on my back” I have a “solar panel on my roof!”

The bills for the first year will show the consumer what they would have paid without the new structure and what they are paying now. Be prepared to pay more.  But wait! If there is a big difference, for the first year, you will be reimbursed the difference.  That I have to see.

Beware! Watch when you use your electric heater; when you use your air conditioner; when you use your fans; when you use your stove and oven if they are electric.  Don’t give your kids a bath, or let them use the computer, or watch television between the hours of 4-9. Don’t use your washing machine, your drier, your dish washer, your garage opener, etc. Smart thing would be to go visit your friends or neighbors between 4-9 pm.

I’ll see you in line at the lending institutions, because I doubt very much that the consumer will save any money.  No.  I think it is another way of putting monies in the coffers that benefit big business.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ March 1, 2019 at 1:26 pm

What were your electric bills before and after the solar install? I have been thinking about doing it, I read it is best to wait until you need a new roof anyway so that is my plan now.

The time of use thing really isn’t a big deal for me. I opted into it a long time ago. More expensive in the evening, but cheaper the rest of the time.

The overall amount that SDGE gets is by law not allowed to change because of these rate plans. The idea is that we don’t want SDGE to have to build a new power plant that will only be used a few hours a day to cover peak demand. That’s expensive and bad for the environment. To give you another example, Detroit for a long time had a 100 year old very dirty oil-burning power plant that only got used a few hours a day and only in the summer to power the peak demand. Switching to tiers encouraged people to cut down on AC use at peak times, and just run them before and after. They were able to shut the plant down eventually and saved a lot of money doing so. In other parts of the USA, reductions in peak demand allowed coal plants to be shut down.

If you have LED lightbulbs, the cost of power is close to nothing. 22c per KWH means it costs a penny to keep a standard LED bulb on for five hours.


judi curry March 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Thank you for the explanation. There are cartoons all over talking about the new rate structure. I am thinking of opting out.

As far as my solar: I am getting a bill for electricity monthly with the admonition “do not pay this bill.” At the end of the year (August) when I purchased the solar, there will be an adjustment depending on how much they got back from the installation. As of today, the bill is roughly about $723. I do not see where I have generated anything in the way of credits so far. Remember – we live at the beach so the clouds do not allow the generation that non-cloudy areas generate; and I had it put in the week after the horrible heat wave we had this summer. It will be an interesting experience in August. Stay tuned.


GML March 1, 2019 at 4:01 pm

ZZ – waiting for your new roof is probably the best option at this point. Solar will be a big benefit if you have one of the following: air condition and you use it often, use a lot of electricity during day light hours (e.g. A/C), have a battery storage option so that the generated electricity during the day can be used at night (still an expensive option).


Chip March 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Judi….some ideas for you…
Break out the crock pot recipe book I know you have ….dinner will be ready by 4 pm.
Every dishwasher has that delayed start button….use it!
Do laundry on the weekends…I am sure you can find the time.
Put a timer on your hot tub so it doesn’t run between 4-9 PM
LED Bulbs are super cheap now….change out your old incandescent bulbs.
Pre-cool the house prior to 4 PM….and make sure that AC unit is tuned up.

If you are willing to make a few changes, you can even save some money.
This is voluntary. You don’t have to do this.
Oh, and you have solar, so you shouldn’t have to worry.
(As long as the Solar contractor you hired sized your system correctly)
Stay cool this summer…


Thomas March 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm

My son’s bill is already $280 a month and he is on a medical baseline allowance for his mom who lives with him.
So now I can’t make dinner until 9 PM? I tried to not use the A/C in summer when they had a reduce your use program in the past. I had to run the A/C for 12 hrs. to cool my house off after that.


Eric March 2, 2019 at 2:11 pm

I’m going to geek out here on how not to write big checks to your power company or worry about storage. DC drive ceiling, gable and whole house fans which not only sip electricity but are much quieter by eliminating inductive hum. Use 75%-90% of the energy that an AC system uses. Very easy to use and install. Using these correctly you can all but eliminate the use of a 40 amp ac compressor along with a 15 amp blower. Cellular shades, fantastic insulators for both hot and cold because of the insulating dead air space they provide, purchase white and they transmit light without the heat gain or loss. LED lights, not only do they use 75% over incandescent but they run cooler so less heat gain. Put dimmers on those LED’s so you can use even less when you don’t need it bright. Get yourself a counter top oven and use 1800W instead of 5400W, how often do you fill up a giant oven? Once a yeat maybe. I like baking so I know how much I save with it. I feel my meter spin when I use my electric oven it pains me. Put timers on things like bathroom fans, motion sensors in rooms. Get a coffee maker with an insulated carafe so there is no need to power an electricity gobbling hot plate. Put your entertainment stuff on a strip switch attached to a WiFi enabled switch you can control and have it turn on and off a pre programmed times, tv, dvd, Tivo, etc etc all add up to power loss. Got a pool? Get a pump motor with a variable frequency drive, cut your usage easily by 50% and get a fat rebate from power companies. Insulating your attic with a radiant barrier, huge decrease in loss. White roofs are a great first line of defense for heat gain. Light colored paint on your home. Side of my house is beige-ish I painted a portion white to see, during a hot day with direct sun there was a 30°F difference. Don’t forget intelligent planting around your home ntoo.
All of these things can be done over time and I know personally they are a great investment. I’m in a 2100 sq foot house, 40K gallon pool (never buy a house with a pool) in a hot during the summer and cold during the winter valley, over the hills from the water. We keep our house very comfortable 68-78° Depending on season. We average 10kW/day in electrical usage. With a small 2.25kW (9 panels) has us net zero plus during the summer by making up to 18kW/day in now free electricity. I could reduce my bill more with storage but there really isn’t a need. I’m not trying to toot my horn just share. I have friends that have done a few of these things and they made huge differences in their bills.
I could go on with more but you get the gist. The power company keeps digging for more and I look for more ways to thwart them plus do the right thing which is the biggest driver.


Gyre March 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm

We, the People, should be able to create a system that doesn’t offend capitalists’ refined desires to rake in profits nor make every consumer of electricity some sort of feed bag for the growing population of corporation-people (“public service” corporations). By organizing a system that uses alternative and environmentally-friendly sources of energy, we can ween the bloodthirsty corporation-people until they no longer threaten our society and our very lives (PG&E and SDGE history of fires due to equipment) …


Rufus March 3, 2019 at 8:24 am

I don’t know why everyone keeps blaming SDGE for our high electrical rates. Blame the politicians we’ve elected for eliminating less expensive power generating options under the name of the False Religion of the Environment.

I was just in Arizona and paid $1.97/gal for gasoline. At my local OB shell station gas was $3.63. My friend in Texas pays .12 a KWH for electricity, we pay .22++.



Gyre March 4, 2019 at 12:48 pm

You have no way of knowing just how bad the smog was in the 1960s and 70s, but it was so bad that even conservatives agreed with doing everything possible to prevent the southern coastal area from becoming so polluted that it would not support life. Truth.


Vern March 6, 2019 at 6:09 am

All the more reason for some to migrate to Arizona and Texas.


Debbie March 3, 2019 at 9:18 am

Rufus! Thank you for your comment.

I often wonder why there is no talk or movement to recall the Mayor who’s leading the pack.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: