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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Edison’s New Tariff Plans Increase Costs for Solar Panel Consumers

As Southern California Edison (SCE) begins offering its new “time-of-use” plans for residential customers, many solar panel owners have turned their backs on how their electricity bills will not be as low as they once were.

For many years, SCE has operated a tiered electricity billing system where customers in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties paid based on the amount of energy consumed.

Now, with the new time-of-use plans, which will be rolled out to 2.3 million SCE customers from November to April, customers will be charged different KW usage charges based on when electricity is used, with the most expensive rate being from 16 to 21

The change is due to the way the SCE grid works: during the day, solar panels generate an abundance of energy, which drives down the price. However, at dusk and at night, when fossil-fueled power plants begin to pick up steam to keep homes powered up, generating electricity comes at a much higher cost.

For some customers this will be a good change as they have the option to use energy when the tariff is lower. However, some solar panel owners are unhappy with this change as they say their large investment in solar power will pay off much longer.

Solar panel owners use a process called clean energy metering, in which customers receive credit after sending the excess electricity their panels generate back to the SCE grid in exchange for a much smaller monthly bill.

“We should encourage people, not discourage them, from installing solar panels on rooftops. One way to do this is to make the investment terms predictable and clear. SCE hasn’t handled this very well, ”Dave Rosenfield, chief executive of Solar Rights Alliance, an anti-change group, told The Epoch Times.

While all loyal customers can opt out of the new time-of-use plans, which SCE estimates are around 20 percent, those who installed solar panels after July 1, 2017 cannot opt ​​out due to California policy.

Basically, solar panel owners – which SCE have 400,000 of their 4.3 million residential customers – are worried that they will be owed less than before, and that this change will only serve to discourage more people from purchasing. solar panels, damaging renewable energy sources. energy goals.

Ron Gales, senior advisor to SCE, strongly disagrees, saying their new time plans only serve to meet renewable energy goals by encouraging people to complete energy-intensive tasks during the day when renewables are plentiful.

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“From a SCE perspective, time-of-use rates will do the exact opposite. They are designed to encourage consumers to use more clean energy available on the grid by offering lower tariffs at times of day when renewable, cleaner and less expensive energy is plentiful, ”Gales told The Epoch Times.

“If you needed to refuel your car and knew that filling your car with gas between 10:00 and 16:00 would cost $ 2 a gallon, but from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM it would cost $ 4 a gallon, you would be well motivated to walk from 10 am to 4 pm “

Gales said that while everyone still needs to “count the numbers” and make decisions about what’s best for them, solar energy will still be beneficial for those whose “goal is to end up paying less for their monthly electricity bill ”and – the utilization rate will have a“ limited impact ”on this target.

“The cost of solar panels has dropped more than 70 percent over the past 25 years, and even now the cost of solar panels and the cost of installing them continue to decline,” he said.

“This refers to simple supply and demand when [solar panel owners] sell surplus energy back to the grid during these noon hours. The cost went down because of all the surplus, because of all this abundance in the grid. So with their credit, they are charged less during these hours, but they get less because the rates are lower. “

“There are definitely solar consumers who are more interested in generating excess energy and getting credit for it, and these people will be affected by TOU rates. For customers who just want to lower their monthly billings, TOU rates won’t have as much of an impact on them. They will continue to generate and use their own energy. “

Gales said that while solar panel customers are very important to the company, it’s also important to consider what’s best for all 4.3 million residential customer accounts, not just the 400,000 solar panel owners.

To follow

Drew Van Voorhees is a daily news reporter for The Epoch Times from California. He has been a journalist for four years, during which time he has published several viral national news stories and has been interviewed about his work on radio and internet shows.

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