Dave Rice 2:30 p.m., March 5
Utility's solution for those hamstrung by rising rates: use less power
Despite solid profits and rising share prices, local utility San Diego Gas & Electric is implementing a rate hike on all San Diego businesses and about a quarter of its customers. But the utility offers a helpful solution to customers feeling the squeeze of higher prices in a September 10 release: now that energy is more expensive, use less of it.
“While only some SDG&E customers will see their rates increase this month, many customers' bills could go up due to hotter weather and increased air-conditioning use that pushes them into a higher-cost usage tier,” says Caroline Winn, an SDG&E customer service vice president.
The utility has some of the same tips for saving energy residents of the Southern California desert climate are familiar with: keep thermostats set above 78 degrees (or use fans instead of air conditioning), check weather stripping and insulation around your home, don’t use appliances during the daytime. SDG&E, thanks to the widespread installation of “smart meters,” now also offers energy charts to allow customers to track their electricity use by logging into their accounts online.
SDG&E assures its captive audience, however, that the company’s bottom line will not be hurt if customers are successful in their efforts to reduce consumption.
“A common myth related to energy use is related to how SDG&E makes money - the fact is that SDG&E does not make money on how much energy its customers use, but rather on its long-term investment in infrastructure,” the company says.
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