Utility rate changes are nothing new in California, with the average annual hike being in the region of 6%. It’s due to high maintenance costs apparently, but rising legal and insurance costs come into the picture too, with liabilities attached to wildfires, among other things.
Perhaps it’s the scale of more recent events that’s behind the substantial March 2019 rate increases for SCE. After all, ramping up the demand charges and shifting the peak period to 4-9pm couldn’t simply be a strike against solar customers, surely.
But either way, small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those who cannot avoid operating after 4pm, are going to suffer the consequences. Unless they’re ahead of the curve and have energy storage capacity.
This is the basis of the changes that came into play in March 2019.
So what’s next? Well, businesses in certain areas are being spared to a degree by the Clean Power Alliance, but they’ll still be hit with SCE peak demand charges. Then there’s an option to adjust operations and operating hours for some, but it would be impossible for others.
A battery would be the best option, especially for those with nowhere else to turn, as it would turn a financial sink-hole into a potential revenue stream, but more immediately, planning now for these summertime peak charges will be important if they want to avoid really nasty surprises in the mail.
SDG&E customers can testify to that. And with LADWP in the midst of civil lawsuits and controversy around overbilling its customers, it’s never been more evident in Southern California that businesses need to prioritize energy intelligence.
Put it on your list for this month to investigate further how your business will be affected, and how you can take measures to minimize the impact.