If you have recently received a notice or phone call from SDG&E about getting switched to a new rate plan. Here's why & this is what you need to do:
Over the next few years, the "Investor Owned Utilities," ie. IOUs will roll out and default to "Time Of Use,” ie. TOU for all residential customers. The CPUC is very interested in getting everyone on TOU however, state law prevents it from being mandatory out of concern for the impacts on low-income families. Therefore, it is currently set up to default, meaning that everyone gets switched unless they ask not to be.
Not all customers are affected by this yet but the IOUs are testing rate schedules and the process of switching customers onto them, in turn, these “default TOU pilots” are now getting underway.
Each of the IOUs have sent notices to test batches of customers saying they will get switched to a different rate plan if they don’t act. As you can imagine, they make TOU sound attractive and play down the option of staying on non-TOU rates. For example, see this web page that SCE set up for its default TOU pilot.
Please understand that the existence of this transition does not impact the grandfathering status of NEM-1 customers. Mandatory TOU for residential solar customers is part of NEM-2. Because NEM-1 customers are grandfathered from the changes that were made in NEM-2, they are exempt from mandatory TOU for the first 20 years of operation of the solar system. They can opt out of a TOU pilot now, or if they get switched and want to switch back they can do that as well.
Here are the rates that are in the pilot. Because they all have evening peak, it is likely that solar customers will be better off on non-TOU rates (E1 for PG&E, D for SCE, and DR for SDG&E). If they are part of the pilot pool and want to stay on non-TOU, they will have to tell the utility company they are affiliated with.
The timing of the rollout of default TOU for all customers, beyond the pilots, has not been decided. SDG&E has proposed to do it between March and December 2019. SCE and PG&E propose to begin in October 2020. If you have a lot of installed residential customers, you can expect to get some calls now and a lot of calls during the full rollout.