Another bill relief option as summer approaches
The state-mandated High Usage Charge (HUC) will be temporarily reduced by 30% this summer, providing bill relief to some of our residential customers.
Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gave SDG&E permission to reduce the HUC, a higher price for electricity that kicks in for customers once their energy usage exceeds a certain threshold. The reduction is meant to provide bill relief to residential customers for the duration of Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
“SDG&E asked the Commission to eliminate the High Usage Charge last year because we believe it is an unfair penalty to certain customers based on where they live. The CPUC rejected that request,” said SDG&E’s Communications Manager, Jessica Packard. “We recently renewed our request, recognizing that many of our customers are facing financial challenges due to the pandemic. And, while we appreciate that the CPUC reduced the HUC, we think they should have gone farther and eliminated it altogether.”
The reduced HUC will take effect on June 1 and extend to Oct. 31. If the stay-at-home order remains in place beyond Oct. 31, the reduction will be extended. This change applies only to customers who are on the traditional tiered pricing plans; customers on Time of Use pricing plans are not subject to the HUC.
The HUC reduction will produce noticeable savings for those who use more than 1,000 kWh of energy per month – such as inland customers who need to use their AC for extended periods during hot summer days.
With the current HUC, a customer using 1500 kWh of energy gets an average bill of about $600; once the HUC is reduced, they will see about 6-8% decrease ($40-50). The higher the customer’s usage is, the more impactful are the savings.
History of the HUC
The HUC was incorporated into SDG&E’s billing structure in late 2017 per state requirements to encourage energy conservation. Residential customers incur the charge after using high amounts of electricity – 400% or more of their baseline allowance. Last year, the CPUC denied SDG&E’s request to eliminate the HUC in an effort to offer bill relief to customers.
Other Rate Relief Efforts
Reducing the HUC is one of several strategies that SDG&E is pursuing to help stabilize bills for customers. Last month, the CPUC approved the elimination of seasonal pricing for customers on standard tiered pricing plans as a way to offer consistent pricing structures throughout the year.
Additionally, SDG&E has garnered approval from the CPUC to change the timing of the California Climate Credit for electricity customers, so customers will receive the credit in August and September, instead of April and October, to help offset their summer bills.
Tips for TOU customers
For customers on TOU pricing plans, the best way to save money is to shift some energy usage outside of the peak hours of 4-9 p.m. For example, running washers and dryers outside those hours can help reduce energy bills.
Download our new mobile app to help you better keep track of your usage.
Visit sdge.com/MyAccount to review all your pricing plan options.