Saturday, February 14, 2015

New SCE Time-of-Use Rate Structure

Heads-up, Southern California Edison Customers!  In case you haven't noticed yet, our rates have changed as of the beginning of the year, and for those of us that are on the time-of-use EV rate plan (TOU-D-TEV), that plan is being pulled, to be replaced by three new plans. These new plans are available to all customers, not just those of us with EVs. Information on these plans can be found on SCE's website. Scroll down a bit until you see the heading "Other Available Rate Plans". Click on "View pricing for these TOU rates" to see the rate tables.

In case you don't feel like poking at the SCE website right now, below is a table that illustrates how these new plans stack up against the old one. Cells highlighted in green, yellow, or red are meant to depict, in my opinion, whether an attribute of a new plan is equal or better (green), slightly worse (yellow) or much worse (red) than the TOU-D-TEV plan that is phasing out.

Key differences between the new and the old are:
  • Peak periods have been shortened and have been shifted to start later in the day
  • Super-off-peak periods have been extended on Plan A and Plan B
  • A monthly fee has been imposed for all TOU plans 
If you are on the old TOU-D-TEV plan and haven't figured out which plan you're being switched to, I strongly suggest you call SCE and find out ASAP since you'll be switched automatically on the March 2015 billing cycle. I made the call a few weeks ago when SCE first posted the plans online, and was told that I'd be switched to TOU-D-A. Which confused me, since our household consumes well over 700kWh of energy every month. Our consumption ranges from 1100 kWh/month during spring and fall, to almost 1800 kWh/month when daytime temps reach over 100F in the summertime.

After finding the new TOU rates on the SCE website and doing some really rough comparisons in my head, I called SCE again and asked them to switch me to TOU-D-B. The rep that I talked to offered to have one of her cohorts do an analysis first, but I insisted that I am well aware of their rate plans and my usage patterns, and have determined that Plan B was my best option. So she happily made the switch for me and said that if Plan B doesn't work out, just give them a call and they'll switch me back to Plan A.

After a few days, I started second-guessing my choice since I didn't do a detailed analysis. Truth is, I didn't even do a back-of-the envelope calculation. All I really did was a comparison of key attributes. So I started putting together a spreadsheet to compare the three new TOU plans with the outgoing TOU-D-TEV plan. I downloaded a week's worth of recent hourly usage data, the last week of January. Here's how it panned out (click on image to enlarge):

As expected, TOU-D is undoubtedly the wrong plan for me since it would increase my monthly bill by about $40 in the wintertime. But between Plan A and Plan B, the difference of about a buck or two a week is pretty much in the noise of this rough estimate. So I picked a week's worth of hourly data from last August to compare the summer rates. Here's how that looks (again, click on image to enlarge):

Based on the summer rate analysis, TOU-D-B is definitely the plan for us since it will probably cost about $40 per month less than TOU-D-A when it gets hot around here. I guess I got lucky this time; a decision made in relative haste turned out to be the right one (whew!).

So... if you are a SCE customer, it's probably in your best interest to find out as soon as possible which rate plan you've been switched to. If it's wrong for your situation, there's still time to change it before it takes effect at the beginning of the next billing cycle.