News from Southern California

Schedule D

In Southern California electricity becomes more expensive the more you use. This is a rational system for the pricing of a valuable resource. Table is from the Southern California Edison Co.

After a busy week at the 9th International Temperature Symposium, I am spending a few days in El Segundo, a pleasant small town near Los Angeles. I am staying with my friend from school, the world famous Brain Imaging Specialist, Richard Leahy.

The contrasts between the US and the UK are striking, and they are often not at all what one might have expected. In Europe the USA is often portrayed as ‘Energy Satan’ but based on a cursory inspection of the local paper and Richard’s electricity bill, this isn’t fair.

In the LA Times I read that the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that any new power plant in the US will have to meet carbon dioxide emission requirements that for all practical purposes, bans new coal-fired plant. Since coal generation is the cheapest form of electricity generation this is a major and difficult step. And one which has not been taken by the UK or the EU.

Most amazingly, the more electricity one uses, the more one has to pay. This is a rational way to charge for a precious resource, and should (IMHO) be used more widely. It provides a direct incentive for people to use less electricity, resulting in less emissions and less resource use. The price rise is quite steep:

  • For the first 10 kWh used each day the charge is around 8 pence per unit.
  • For the next 3 kWh used each day the charge is around 10 pence per unit.
  • For the next 7 kWh used each day the charge is around 15 pence per unit.
  • For the next 10 kWh used each day the charge is around 18 pence per unit.
  • Anything above this is the charged at around 20 pence per unit.

The system is not without disadvantages. One downside is that in order to ensure fairness, there are number of factors which determine ‘baseline’ electricity allocation and that makes it difficult to work out what the actual price is! But overall I think it represents a practical balance between fairness and freedom.

Anyway – I am off to ‘soak up some rays’. Stay Cool 🙂

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3 Responses to “News from Southern California”

  1. sahmeepee Says:

    Presumably the number of occupants is one of the factors feeding in to your baseline allocation? I can imagine it being quite difficult to police.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      I don’t think there is a per person rate But there is a rate for income qualified families – I guess that means ‘poor’. Teh main exception is for medical equipment which must run 24/7.

      The details are here

      It says that

      “Baseline electricity allowances are an established level of kilowatt-hours (kWh) provided to residential customers. Pursuant to State law, baseline allowances represent the electricity necessary to supply a significant portion (50-60%) of the reasonable needs of the average residential customer.”


      Rate Schedule D Charges
      Every residential customer on Rate Schedule D pays one or more of the following CPUC-approved charges:
      • Generation Charges
      • Transmission Charges
      • Distribution Charges.
      • Nuclear Decommissioning Charge.
      • Public Purpose Program Charge.
      • Other Charges — These charges include the CPUC reimbursement fee, city taxes, state taxes, and affiliated billing charges.
      • Basic Charges — These charges recover a portion of costs for services such as meter reading, customer service, and customer billing.

      Other Available Rate and Program Options
      When you’re enrolled in Rate Schedule D, you may also be eligible for other options that could help you lower your electric bills, such as:
      • SCE’s Summer Discount Plan offers qualifying customers a credit of up to $200 annually on their bills during summer months, for allowing SCE to temporarily shut off their central air conditioner compressors, without advance notice, for a limited number of hours throughout the year. Customers allow SCE access to their properties to install remotely-controlled devices on or near their air conditioning units. Customers can choose from a variety of program options based on their desired levels of savings, comfort, and convenience.
      • Once you have an Edison SmartConnectTM meter and your neighborhood is network enabled, you’ll be automatically enrolled in SCE’s Save Power Day incentive program. The program gives you incentive rewards for reducing energy usage between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Save Power Days, up to 12 times each year. By reducing your electricity usage during Save Power Days, you can earn up to $100 annually in bill credits (savings may vary based on actual usage reductions during Save Power Days and other factors).
      • California Alternate Rates for Energy (Rate Schedule D-CARE) provides reduced rates for income-qualified customers. Rate Schedule D-CARE rates are an average 20% lower than rates contained in Rate Schedule D.
      • Family Electric Rate Assistance (Rate Schedule D-FERA) offers a discounted rate to income-qualified families of three or more, who exceed baseline usage by 30% or more.
      • Medical Baseline is a program that provides additional baseline allocation for a customer, or a full-time resident living with a customer, with a qualifying medical condition. Certification by a doctor is required.
      • SCE’s Off-Peak Savings Plan (also called Rate Schedule TOU-D-T) may reduce your total energy charges if you are able to use most of your energy during the off-peak hours of 6 p.m. through
      10 a.m. weekdays.

  2. Energy Prices: Reality Bites « Protons for Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] of electricity depend upon who you are and where you live. This is an extension of the US system I described a few months ago in which electricity becomes more expensive the more you use – a market-based system which […]

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