Although we can’t control the weather, we can help you plan and prepare for higher energy bills as we head into what is expected to be another hot summer. Use the information below to improve your home's summer energy usage without breaking a sweat, and the bank.
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Switch off or power down your electronic devices when not in use. Turning off one computer and monitor nightly and on weekends can save up to $80 a year.
Shift your use
When doing laundry, wash and dry full loads and use a cold water setting. Save even more on a Time-of-Use plan by doing laundry outside the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Adjust your thermostat
Raising your thermostat 7° to 10°F from its normal setting for eight hours a day can reduce your overall cooling costs by 10% a year. Save even more by setting your thermostat to pre-cool your home before 4 p.m., when demand for energy is the highest and can cost the most.
Weatherize your home
Weather strip and caulk drafty doors and windows to keep the cold air in and hot air out.
Upgrade your lighting
Along with LED light bulbs, use ENERGY STAR light fixtures, which use less energy and produce less heat.
Adjust your water heater
Water heating can be the second largest energy expense in your home after air conditioning. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater a few degrees and if possible, insulate the water heater and pipes to reduce your water heating costs even more.
Keep your A/C fit
Check your air conditioner’s filter every 1-2 months. Dirty filters cause your system to work harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.
Crank up the fan
Fans allow you to raise your thermostat a few degrees without any reduction in comfort, according to the Department of Energy. Just make sure you turn them off when no one is the room to save energy since they don’t actually affect the temperature of the room.
Fire up the grill
Take the heat out of your kitchen by cooking outside. Its also a good excuse to get your family outside and away from electronics.
Maximize your dishwasher
Run a full load before 4 pm or after 9 pm when energy is cheaper. Save even more by turning off the dry cycle and letting your dishes air dry.
Use small appliances
Instead of the oven, use small appliances such as a microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker. They use less energy and won’t add much heat to your home.
Keep your fridge full
A full fridge works more efficient than an empty one. Pack cold items together to keep your fridge and freezer cool. Consider storing a supply of emergency water to keep your fridge full.
Programs and solutions to stay cool and lower your energy bill
Pricing plan options
Being on the right pricing plan can add up to real savings on your energy bill. Can you shift your energy use? Do you own an electric vehicle? Visit My Account to check out your choices.
The High Usage Charge is based on electricity use and applies to the ‘standard’ residential tiered plan. To avoid the charge you need to use less than 400% of your baseline allowance. You can also change your pricing plan to a Time-of-Use plan as they are not subject to the High Usage Charge. You can evaluate your available options in My Account.
Hotter weather drives up energy use, and combined with summer pricing, customers can see higher bills than normal. The increased pricing stems from a rise in electricity prices in the summer across the state as the weather heats up and there is a high demand for energy.
The High Usage Charge was incorporated into SDG&E’s billing structure in late 2017 per the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Ahead of summer, SDG&E requested the CPUC eliminate or suspend the High Usage Charge. That request was not approved.
The High Usage Charge applies to customers on the ‘standard’ residential tiered plan whose energy use is above 400% of their baseline allocation. Once a customer reaches the High Usage Charge threshold, it triggers a higher price for all electricity used beyond the 400% mark for the remainder of that billing cycle.
SDG&E is analyzing other bill relief options including eliminating seasonal pricing changes, which typically creates higher electricity prices during the summer months (June – October). Approval will be required by the CPUC.
No. SDG&E does not profit from the sale of electricity to our customers, per state law. The cost of the electricity we purchase for our customers is a direct pass through onto customer bills.
There are some immediate benefits with Time-of-Use pricing plans over the ‘standard’ tiered plan:
- No High Usage Charge – Time-of-Use plans do not have a High Usage Charge, so if a customer anticipates continuing to use high amounts of energy, they may save each month on one of these plans.
- Simple shifts can equal savings – Shifting simple chores like laundry and running your dishwasher to before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m. can reduce your monthly bill on a Time-of-Use plan. Outside of the 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. timeframe, prices are lower, which provides a second opportunity to save. On a standard plan, the price is the same every hour of the day.
- Try “A/C pre-cooling” – Take advantage of cheaper “off-peak” prices outside of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to pre-cool your home or business, then turn up the thermostat from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to gain some savings.
Learn more about Time-of-Use at sdge.com/whenmatters.