Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) are making major changes in the way they charge their customers. These changes will impact the way everyone currently buys power, including all solar customers as well. In the coming months, all SCE and SDGE customers will be switched to Time of Use rates whether they ask for it or not. This will result in RAPIDLY INCREASING ELECTRIC BILLS. But you do have options. The influx of Lithium Ion Battery technology is designed to overcome these changes, and keep us away from these new rate structures.
First and foremost, let’s identify what Time of Use is, and the mechanism to beat it – Net Metering and Lithium Ion Battery technology.
Time of Use – On a Time of Use (TOU) rate plan, the utilities charge you more for electricity at certain peak times during the day. When your solar panels overproduce, they also buy that power at a higher rate. All SCE and SDGE solar customers must be on a TOU plan.
Net Metering – As explained on SCE’s web site: “The energy you produce, minus the energy you consume, equals net energy. [SCE will] deduct the energy you export to the grid at times when generation exceeds on-site demand from your bill, and you may even earn surplus credits for the energy you produce.
Lithium Ion Battery – This new technology allows us to switch our usage from the grid to a battery during the evening and night when solar doesn’t produce power, and our rates are the highest. Popular brands are LG, Chem and Tesla Power Wall, but there are many other comparable brands to fill this need.
Currently, Monday through Friday, 2:00-8:00 PM are SCE’s peak hours. That’s ideal for solar customers because those are hours when your solar panels producing the most, and when a lot of people aren’t home. Solar customers generate energy, sell it to the utility, and make the highest amount of money that the utility offers. After March 1st, the hours change to 4:00-9:00 PM. That lengthens the time solar customers will be relying on the grid while their panels are not producing, and will be earning less when the panels are at peak performance.
Here’s how it works: Solar panels generate the most electricity for your house in the middle of the day. Right now, the most expensive electricity SCE will sell is at $0.47 per kilowatt (kW) between 2 PM and 8 PM. In most cases with solar, you are generating more electricity than you use in the middle of the day. You sell a lot of that excess electricity back to SCE at $0.47 per kW.
After March 1st, SCE will move new solar customers to a Time of Use Plan and change its peak period to 4 PM to 9 PM. That means the most expensive energy is coming into your home when your solar panels have stopped working for the day and the power that you sell to them in the middle of the day will now only be worth $0.22 per kW.
This is where batteries come into play, with the ability to shift your dependency between the grid, solar and batteries to optimize the cost of buying power from the utilities.
LG / Chem / Tesla Power Wall Batteries – These batteries are more powerful and versatile thank you think. You are still connected to the grid, and your house still runs off of power from your utility. When these new Peak Hours come in to effect, batteries can bridge the gap while your panels are not producing and the utilities are charging their higher rates. With this new battery technology, you can store up a portion of your solar production for use after the sun has set. By switching over from the grid to battery for a few hours, you can avoid the peak charges when our solar cannot.
There are obviously more details to cover, and we would be pleased to go over all of them in a free in-home appointment. There is still time to be grandfathered in to the current peak hours of 2:00-8:00 PM, but you must act quickly to beat the deadline of March 1, 2019. You don’t have to be at the mercy of public utilities, paying too much and fearing when rates are going to climb even higher. Take control of your electric bill and harness the power of the sun! Call us today to set up your free appointment at 949-789-7990.