SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - For those fortunate enough to have it, there's no better way to stay cool at home during this hot weather than turning on the air conditioner. But keeping cool now will cost you later. Higher electric rates went into effect this week, and many San Diegans may be shocked to see this month's SDG&E bill.
With a triple digit heat wave, consumers who are cranking up the AC can expect next month's energy bill to be higher, not only because of increased power use, but a rise in rates, which
went into effect September 1. The company bases your costs on a four tier system.
"That rate increase only impacts about 25 percent of SDG&E's customers, so one in four customers will see their bill go up based on their current levels of usage," SDG&E Communications Manager Erin Coller said.
SDG&E officials will be closely monitoring their grid, hoping to avoid long outages or major blackouts like we've seen during past hot spells.
"As of today, we have adequate power resources for the region, and anything can change at any time, so conservation is always a good habit to be in, and saving energy definitely helps," Coller said.
The utility is urging customers to use tools on their Website..where they can watch energy consumption.
"Thanks to smart meter technology our customers can go online and see exactly how much energy they're using by the hour from the previous day, so you can get an idea of your energy use habits," Coller said.
And if you must turn on the AC, there's at least one thing you can do to lower your bill.
"If you do want to use your air conditioning, 78 degrees is a good temperature to set it to so you'll be comfortable without your air conditioning working too hard and using too much energy," Coller said.
Here's another tip to keep the blazing sun out of your residence.
"If you close the windows and the blinds and drapes during the hottest part of the day, that'll help keep the heat outside and keep it from getting inside, so it'll keep your house cool during the day," Coller said.