What is California’s time-of-use electric billing?
Under a time-of-use electric billing method, utility companies bill the user based on when that user uses electricity from the grid. If the home has solar power, time-of-use billing also determines how much the user gets credited for the power supplied to the grid.
Why utilities are switching to time-of-use billing
The demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day, and so does the price that the utility company has to pay for the electricity it supplies to you. Time-of-use billing is used to ensure that the utility company gets a fair return on the electricity that it’s buying to supply to its customers.
Another reason utilities are switching to time-of-use billing is to encourage electrical consumption during hours where energy from renewable sources is plentiful. Obviously, there is plenty of energy from solar during the day. Late at night, there is often plenty of power available from wind turbines because of lower electricity demand.
California utilities peak rate hours are from 4 PM to 9 PM
tAll three of California’s main utility companies, SDG&E, PG&E, plus SCE, charge their peak rate hours from 4 PM to 9 PM. This period of time falls in between the daytime hours (where there is plenty of solar-provided power) and before the late-night hours (when the wind picks up). The smart way to save money on electricity is to reduce your consumption of electricity as much as possible during these hours.
It can be difficult to reduce your energy consumption in the evening. After all, that’s when most people are home, cooking dinner, doing laundry, etc. The solution to this problem is to install home batteries. California has an incentive program called the Self-Generation Incentive Program that offers a per-kilowatt-hour of installed battery capacity that reduces the cost of installing batteries. Qualifying homeowners may receive a high enough incentive to cover nearly the entire cost of installing batteries.
Freedom Forever can help you get the most from your home solar
Time-of-use billing can eat into your solar savings. But when you go solar with Freedom, we’ll design and build your system to minimize the impact of time-of-use billing on your solar savings. Our family of independent authorized dealers can help you determine how much you could save through the Self-Generation Incentive Program on installing home batteries. If you are affected by California’s Public Safety Power Shutdowns, qualifying applicants may even have their batteries installed for nearly free!