Oceanside CA- Residential and business customers, of SDG&E, are urged to prepare for the price increases arriving late Summer, early Fall. Some rate increases began June 1, 2013 with more set for September. The increase will disproportionately affect residential and business customers in tiers 3 and 4 of the SDG&E four tier billing system. Several reasons for the price hikes are; the increasing costs of the electricity SDG&E buys from suppliers, increased demand and the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.
Since residential electric rates are “tiered” your bill is determined by the cost per kilowatt-hour and that cost increases as you use more energy. These higher tiers consist of middle-class and large families who use more energy than the minimum estimate established by the state. If your bill for electricity is higher than $100.00 per month or your usage is more than 500 kilowatt-hours a month you are in Tiers 3 or 4.
A bill signed by Governor Gray Davis , during the 2001 energy crunch, was intended to protect lower-income families from the soaring rates occurring at the time. The legacy of that bill is, all increases in energy prices are largely bourne by customers in the top two tiers, subsidizing the lower two. The bottom tiered rates have remained, basically, the same since 2001. Fewer customers in the higher tiers is adding to the costs for those customers bearing the burden of the increases.
There are some things you can due to prepare and help mitigate the hit on your budget. SDG&E urges customers to take advantage of tools available on the company’s website. You can sign up for “My Account” where you will have access to detailed information about your energy use(link). A pdf is available showing a room by room analysis of energy costs. Users can opt into Reduce Your Use Alerts to help earn bill credits for saving energy during hot summer days when demand for electricity is high.
SDG&E announcement of the September increase is available here.