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LeafPowerIsIxE
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SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:02 pm

SDGE is at it again.

I see now they have changed the Super Off Peak summer period from 12:00AM - 2:00PM. Off peak is now 2:00PM - 4:00PM, and Peak pricing remains at 4:00PM to 9:00PM. Complete and focused attack on solar customers. They will continue to tweak their rates and TOU parameters until they completely abolish the solar advantages we all invested for.

Since many of us with EVs have solar, what plan have you found most cost effective for your energy needs? Time of Use or Tier pricing?

I'm grandfathered in based on my 2008 system installation, so I can choose either plan. I have been on the TOU plan for the past 18 months, and found it manageable. But the new change in the Super Off Peak timing will be a new bird dropping to deal with.

As an aside, SDGE customers pay some of the highest rates in the country. Why? Is it because the CPUC is bought and paid for by Sempre Energy lobbying, so there is no help from the state governmental stand point. Pathetic.

Listen for the outcry when the 700,000 customers -forced- by SDGE to TOU plans see their energy bills later this year. But nobody cares, as SDGE answers to NO ONE.

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Randy
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:51 pm

The Time of Use periods were changed in Dec. 2017. The CPUC studied the issue for almost 2 years and issued the order for the changes to be made by the 3 utilities in California.

I know you suspect a conspiracy theory, but the massive addition of solar in the San DIego region over the last few years (~ 1,000 MW) has shifted the legacy peak period that used to be from Noon to 6pm all the way to 4 to 9pm. That is why the actual TOU time periods were changed (to follow the real peak). The peak period will probably shift even more as storage systems or batteries are adopted in greater numbers.

The purpose of having a peak period is to send pricing incentives for people on TOU rates not to use energy during that time and make the price cheaper during the off peak and super off periods so that peak usage can be shifted to those times to make the load factor "flatter".

The question of whether you should be on a tiered plan or a TOU plan really depends on how much energy you generate on an annual basis vs. how much your consumption is. Are you buying much energy from the grid? Does your consumption match your generation, etc? I would have further advice if you could provide more information about your situation....Thanks.

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LeafPowerIsIxE
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:39 am

I appreciate the reply and information.

The CPUC does exactly what they are told by the utility lobby. This is not a conspiracy, but fact. The largest lobbyists in California are always the utilities. The state’s three big electric utilities together more than doubled their spending on lobbying during 2018. The increase was driven largely by Pacific Gas & Electric, which spent $2.2 million on lobbying — triple what it spent in 2017. Edison, which provides power to much of Southern California, spent $1.3 million lobbying in the first half of 2018 alone —double what it spent in 2017.

Why is it so important for the utilities to lobby the state commissions and politicians so aggressively? So they can maintain their profits and keep the wheel spinning on their industry as renewable energy continues to try to make progress.

That said, it is what it is. We get the government we deserve.

Back on point: I average about 300-400 kwh monthly pulling from the grid. My system generates 30-35 kwh per day in the summer. I have an energy intensive well that supports my 2 acres of irrigation, and a pool. The irrigation, pool, and car charging occurs between 12a-5a. We have altered our lifestyle to avoid energy use between 4p-9p, but some consumption is unavoidable (A/C in August, evening cooking, etc). Does the Tier plan make more sense?

The TOU has been workable, but SDGE keeps moving the goal posts to the point where they will soon shut out any potential savings for solar owners. Shifting the time of use peak period to 4p-9p took the solar customers out of the game. And eventually, SDGE will make the tier pricing so intolerable, everyone will have to jump to TOU.

I appreciate your reference to batteries. The consumer will invest to mitigate the ever increasing electric costs - SDGE will then respond accordingly to that countermeasure. There was public outcry last summer when all the tier based customers blew out their power bills. Local news coverage was pervasive, with hand wringing, shock, and dismay across the board. But nothing changed. SDGE just waited it out and soon it was below the fold.

I looked back at my Tier pricing from 2017 and the rates have increased substantially in the 2019 tables.

It must be nice to run a business (monopoly) with unconstrained price inelasticity. Again, because SDGE answers to no one.

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Randy
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:29 am

I would say if you're pulling 5,000 kWh annually from the grid and have quite a bit of super off peak usage, the EV-TOU5 rate makes sense. There will be a $16 monthly charge, but then you can buy super off peak energy at just over 9 cents per kWh. There are no limits to the quantity of energy you can buy during the TOU periods on the EV rates (which is not the case on other rates). You can use that to your advantage.

By the way, as a point of information, the super off peak times are midnight to 6am on weekdays, and then midnight to 2pm on weekends. In addition, during March and April, there is an additional super off peak period from 10am to 2pm on weekdays. If you were on the EV-TOU5 rate, you could be buying 9 cent energy during those times.

As far as your statement about the utility moving the goal posts, I would say that is exactly what is supposed to happen. Anything else would be a disservice to one type of customer or another. TOU periods and pricing have to continuously change as grid conditions change over the years.

I'm a solar owner myself, and my 5 year TOU period grandfathering expires this summer, so I'll be moving to the new TOU periods (4-9pm peak). I may not like it, but that IS when the power system hits its peak now...There's no denying that. So when you think about what the purpose of peak pricing is all about, it is absolutely correct to move it as conditions change...

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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:53 am

Tiered pricing is almost always going to be a better deal for SDG&E customers. That's why SDG&E is forcing their customers off it. If you are on solar, it's very likely that you never exceed tier 1 limits anyway. If you are running a 5000 KWH deficit annually consider adding more PV panels instead of paying SDG&E. Battery arrays that soak up excess power from a solar system are going to get cheaper and better. If SDG&E persists in TOU pricing then the incentive exists to charge a battery system during super off-peak hours and use the battery power during peak use hours even without a PV array. New regulations requiring PV systems on all new homes only accelerates the trend. I've got a 5 acre farm and 16KW of PV and it's normally enough to run break even. This winter though with the wet weather and cold nights i'm running a 5000 KWH deficit so far. I will make up some of it before my True- up date but I am considering adding a couple of KW since solar keeps coming down in price. If SDG&E tries to charge for putting power back into the grid (which they have discussed) then I'll be looking into a battery storage system as well.
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:21 pm

I'm not an expert by any means and only have a rudimentary understanding of solar rates. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a solar installation in 2008 means you are on a Net Metering 1 schedule.

Basically:

Every excess kilowatt hour you generate from your solar and pushed over to the grid offsets power drawn from the grid on a 1:1 basis.

If you opt to go on a TOU plan now, your date schedule will be based on a Net Metering 2. It seems to me that this would not be advantageous because:

The excess power you generate during the day and push to the grid is valued by the time at which it is generated. I believe the daytime price for electricity is around $.25, the peak period (evenings) is about double that.

One would think this means you have to generate 2 kwh of excess solar power for every kwh drawn from the grid at night, but it get worse. NM2 requires that the excess power you send to the grid cannot include the various fixed charges that are included in the billing rate. That significantly discounts the value of your excess solar power. I'm not sure how much, but one solar vendor I spoke with said it might be as low as $.15/kwh.

If my facts are correct, going from a tiered plan to a TOU plan may result in 3:1 reduction of benefits to you.

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LeafPowerIsIxE
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:57 pm

Randy wrote:I would say if you're pulling 5,000 kWh annually from the grid and have quite a bit of super off peak usage, the EV-TOU5 rate makes sense. There will be a $16 monthly charge, but then you can buy super off peak energy at just over 9 cents per kWh. There are no limits to the quantity of energy you can buy during the TOU periods on the EV rates (which is not the case on other rates). You can use that to your advantage.

By the way, as a point of information, the super off peak times are midnight to 6am on weekdays, and then midnight to 2pm on weekends. In addition, during March and April, there is an additional super off peak period from 10am to 2pm on weekdays. If you were on the EV-TOU5 rate, you could be buying 9 cent energy during those times.

As far as your statement about the utility moving the goal posts, I would say that is exactly what is supposed to happen. Anything else would be a disservice to one type of customer or another. TOU periods and pricing have to continuously change as grid conditions change over the years.

I'm a solar owner myself, and my 5 year TOU period grandfathering expires this summer, so I'll be moving to the new TOU periods (4-9pm peak). I may not like it, but that IS when the power system hits its peak now...There's no denying that. So when you think about what the purpose of peak pricing is all about, it is absolutely correct to move it as conditions change...

Thanks, Randy. I appreciate your input despite my rant against the "big-uts". It is crazy the rates we pay here in San Diego county. I also have a house in Japan where I thought the rates were sky high. I realized last summer San Diego is higher at $.556/kwh versus $.388 in Japan. That is insane, and inexcusable.

As far as the EV-TOU5 rate plan, is this valid for my entire house? I have 2 meters in my home, one for the EV and the other for the residential power. Can I put my entire house on the EV-TOU5 plan? In my case, this would be cost effective at 9 cents per KWH.

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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:48 pm

Randy wrote:I would say if you're pulling 5,000 kWh annually from the grid and have quite a bit of super off peak usage, the EV-TOU5 rate makes sense. There will be a $16 monthly charge, but then you can buy super off peak energy at just over 9 cents per kWh. There are no limits to the quantity of energy you can buy during the TOU periods on the EV rates (which is not the case on other rates). You can use that to your advantage.

By the way, as a point of information, the super off peak times are midnight to 6am on weekdays, and then midnight to 2pm on weekends. In addition, during March and April, there is an additional super off peak period from 10am to 2pm on weekdays. If you were on the EV-TOU5 rate, you could be buying 9 cent energy during those times.

As far as your statement about the utility moving the goal posts, I would say that is exactly what is supposed to happen. Anything else would be a disservice to one type of customer or another. TOU periods and pricing have to continuously change as grid conditions change over the years.

I'm a solar owner myself, and my 5 year TOU period grandfathering expires this summer, so I'll be moving to the new TOU periods (4-9pm peak). I may not like it, but that IS when the power system hits its peak now...There's no denying that. So when you think about what the purpose of peak pricing is all about, it is absolutely correct to move it as conditions change...
I don't know your specifics but when I installed in 2011 the grandfathering rule was for 20 years not 5. I can change voluntarily to another rate plan but if I do that I might not be able to revert back afterwards. In the meantime, SDG&E can't force me to change rates. Standard TOU rates would save me $50 a year if I believed SDG&E rate calculator. Every other rate structure would cost me significantly more than my current plan. Last year I actually ended up with a credit balance after the EV Credit, climate credit, and Reduce Your Use credits. I'm pretty sure that TOU rates won't benefit me in any meaningful way. I doubt that anyone really reduces their costs under TOU.
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:52 pm

Randy wrote:the EV-TOU5 rate.
Do you know if the online rate savings calculator takes the $16 monthly charge into account? When I compared my usage on this plan, my number was a couple hundred higher than what the calculator gave me.

Thanks.
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Re: SDGE TOU vs Tier Pricing

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:01 pm

I agree with Randy -- rates *should* change with the grid.

For recent converts to PV, is PV + battery + arbitrage a thing ?
Just gross arithmetic suggests that a 30 cent/kwh savings compared to grid or with arbitrage is worth
0.3*365*10 = $1100 per kWh of battery.

Seems an obvious way to put a ceiling on electricity charges

I looked up Tesla:
13.5 kWh * 2 = 27 kWh costs about $17,000
(17,000*0.3) tax credit = $5,100
NET ~ $12,000

Over 10 years
27*365*10 = 135,050 kWh stored,
but 90% efficiency so 135,050*0.95 = 128,298 to consume or arbitrage during peak.
$12,000/128,298 = 9.3 cents a kWh before opportunity costs are considered.

Since PV can be installed for about 5 cents a kWh and a fraction of the PV is used directly an off-grid system works out to under 15 cents a kWh. I would not try this in a 4 season climate but San Diego is ripe for the picking. Oh .... and the off-grid house saves taxes and utility fixed fees too if arbitrage cannot be exploited.
Last edited by SageBrush on Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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