Breaking News
More () »

SDG&E proposes billing electricity customers based on income

The proposal is part of a new state law requiring utility companies to come up with fixed-rate plans to make billing more equitable.

SAN DIEGO — There are some big proposed changes to how you’ll be billed by SDG&E for electricity.

A new state law requires utility companies in California to come up with a fixed rate plan, as a way to help stabilize rates and make billing more equitable.

Those plans were due on April 7.

SDG&E, along with Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, teamed up and a proposal to charge people based on their income.

Currently, you not only pay for how much electricity your household uses, but other things such as how that electricity is delivered.

Both prices vary month to month.

SDG&E's plan is to offer residential customers a fixed delivery rate every billing cycle, no matter how much electricity is used.

“By having a fixed price for the delivery portion, we can actually reduce the remaining electricity rate by about 42% so that can create additional bill savings,” said Scott Crider, SDG&E's Vice President of External Affairs and Operations Support.

What could that look like?

  • Under the current billing system, at 47 cents per kilowatt hour, the average customer pays $188 per month.
    • Under the fixed rate proposal, the customer would pay $181.

Here's a breakdown of where you'd fall based on your income.

  • Households earning less than $28,000 a year would pay a fixed delivery rate of $24 per month.
  • Households earning under $69,000, that fixed price goes up to $34.
  • Households earning between $69,000 and $180,000, that price goes up to $73.
  • Households earning over $180,000 dollars will pay $128.
  • Everyone's average kilowatt hour rate drops from 47 cents to 27 cents.

Since the plan is income base, CBS 8 asked SDG&E to respond to those who may feel uncomfortable giving away their financial information.

“We don't want customers’ financial information. Customers don't want provide us their financial information. So, our perspective is the state is very capable to be able to do this and send us the data that's needed to get the customers into the right buckets," said Crider.

Crider says SDG&E would not make more profit under this plan, but CBS 8 wanted to know: with so many customers potentially saving money, how would SDG&E maintain its record numbers?

We asked SDG&E: To make SDG&E's profits stay consistent, if you have higher income customers paying more, does it make up for the savings from the lower and middle income customers?

“Yes. That's correct,” said Crider.

Another thing to consider, this would impact every residential customer, including those with solar who don’t currently pay a delivery fee.

Fixed rates are already the norm for water and sewage.

As for electricity, Crider says these changes are the result of California's climate goals, saying with more and more people transitioning to cleaner energy, such as electric vehicles, we have to find a way to make it more affordable.

"Everything is going up and we've heard loud and clear from our customers that they're struggling and they need action taken," said Crider.

Crider admitted, while this proposal could offer short term relief, what happens in the long run is unclear.

"It's hard to say where the rates will go. We know that more infrastructure is gonna be needed and this is not gonna be an issue that's completely addressed with one proposal," said Crider.

The California Public Utilities Commission has until July 2024 to look over proposals and figure out when the change will take effect.

This will impact community choice energy customers as well.

At CBS 8, we are always Working for You and our San Diego community. If there is something you would like us to investigate, please share your idea here or email us at workingforyou@cbs8.com.

WATCH RELATED: 'Out of control' | SDG&E customers sound off about potential rate hikes 




  1. DOWNLOAD THE CBS 8 MOBILE APP | iPhone | Android  

  1. CBS 8 ON SOCIAL MEDIA | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube 

Before You Leave, Check This Out