Across the country, utilities are beginning to introduce innovative rate structures for residential energy consumers. These rate structures–from time-of-use rates to demand charges to real-time-pricing–all have a common goal: to incentivize customers to consume energy during times when the cost of generating electricity is cheap, and to disincentive energy consumption when the cost of generating electricity is high. As a result, understanding the ins and outs of a time-of-use rate can help you reduce your monthly cost of energy.
In the past few years, utilities across the country — from Indiana to Massachusetts to Arizona — proposed mandatory or voluntary demand charges for residential customers. With the right resources and knowledge, it is definitely possible to reduce your monthly bill on a demand charge rate. But in many situations, including often for people with solar on their roof, demand charges can lead to more expensive bills overall.
There are a number of financial incentives offered to property owners going solar. From rebates to tax incentives and net metering policies, there are many policies that bring down the cost of installing solar panels on your house. One such policy is the feed-in tariff, which, when designed properly, can provide substantial financial benefits to solar customers.
It is becoming increasingly popular for utilities to offer time-of-use (TOU) plans to their residential customers. In a standard electricity plan, you pay the same rate for your electricity regardless of the time of day. TOU plans are different: the cost of electricity in a TOU plan depends on the time the energy is drawn from the grid.
PG&E’s new rate schedule affects utility’s entire coverage area in 2018. Whether you have solar panels on your roof, are considering solar, or don’t have any plans to generate your own electricity, the time-of-use (TOU) rates will have an impact on your monthly electricity costs. Currently, all PG&E customers have the option of switching to TOU rates or remaining on their existing rate schedule. However, if you are a new PG&E customer or move to a new address, you’ll have to choose a new TOU plan. The best option for your home depends on your electricity use habits.