southern california edison

8 important things about Time-of-Use rates

Beginning Nov. 1, Southern California Edison will transition 2.3 million residential customers to Time-of-Use rate plans in six monthly waves that continue through April.

Here are the most important things to know about this significant change:

1. TOU rate plans benefit customers who can shift some or most electricity usage away from times of day when electricity costs more to deliver. Examples include using energy-intensive appliances, charging electric vehicles or programming smart thermostats to adjust home temperatures before or after the 4-9 p.m. “On-Peak” period.

2. TOU rate plans help keep California golden. When customers shift energy usage to morning and midday hours, they tap into an abundance of energy on California’s electric grid coming from cleaner, renewable resources and help to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

3. They ease pressure on California’s electric grid at key times of day. The renewable energy production from large-scale solar farms, which feeds California’s electric grid during morning and midday hours, declines in the late afternoon, just as the collective demand for power from customers across California increases. To compensate for the decrease in solar production, conventional sources of energy (more costly, not as clean) get ramped up. This transition stresses the electric grid until later in the evening. Customers switching energy usage to “Off-Peak” hours helps relieve that pressure.

4. SCE offers three TOU options for residential customers. Plans include “On-Peak” periods of 4-9 p.m. or 5-8 p.m. and a TOU “Prime” rate plan specifically for customers with plug-in EVs, residential batteries or other clean energy technologies. SCE’s Rate Plan Comparison Tool can help compare options while SCE’s Appliance Energy Use Cost Calculator estimates customer savings from shifting appliance use to Off-Peak hours.

5. SCE notifies customers by mail before switching their plans. Customers being switched should receive a notification letter from SCE by U.S. mail 60-90 days before their scheduled transition date and a reminder letter 30 days before. Customers who provided SCE their email address and agreed to be contacted may be notified electronically. The notification letter includes a comparison of what customers’ pay each year currently and what they would pay under TOU rates. Review the comparison carefully to see if you are benefitting from your new rate.

6. Residential customers switched to a TOU plan now through April get 12 months of bill protection. If you pay more on a TOU rate plan for the first 12 months than you would have paid on your previous tiered rate plan, SCE will provide you a one-time bill credit for the difference. (Does not apply to TOU Prime.)

7. Residential customers can opt out before their scheduled transition date. Simply return the reply card included with their notification letter, or complete the online form, or phone SCE’s dedicated TOU line at 877-287-2140. Customers can also choose to opt out after their scheduled transition date.

8. Some SCE residential customers will not be switched to TOU rate plans, including those:

  • Located in state-defined hot climate zones who are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs.
  • Enrolled in the Medical Baseline program.
  • Who’ve notified SCE that they are people with disabilities.
  • Who’ve opted out of TOU rate plans during previous transition periods .
  • Who started service after Oct. 1, 2020.

However, joint customers of SCE and a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) will be included.

Infographic explaining time-of-use rates for electricity. Graphic courtesy of Southern California Edison.
Infographic explaining time-of-use rates for electricity. Graphic courtesy of Southern California Edison.
This article was written by Ron Gales, Energized by Edison Writer.