Scanlan explained that Time-of-Use plans not only provide opportunities for a better energy future, but also give customers control over their own individual energy plan and consumption. TOU plans base energy costs on both how much energy used, and when energy use occurs. Each day is broken into three time periods: on-peak, off-peak and super off-peak. According to Scanlan, energy costs are significantly lower during off-peak and super off-peak time periods compared to on-peak hours occurring specifically between 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Scanlan furthered that the cause of this relates to the amount of renewable energy available. Essentially, off-peak and super off-peak hours experience higher amounts of available renewable energy provided by resources such as solar panels, an opportunity lost during on-peak hours. Therefore, with a TOU plan, participants have the ability to make small lifestyle changes to avoid consuming energy during on-peak periods. These small changes can not only save the SDG&E customer money, but also make a significant impact on a cleaner environment.
At this point in the TOU transition strategy, SDG&E is focusing their attention on converting the majority of residential customers to TOU plans by the end of 2019. Scanlan informed the group that commercial buildings, including restaurants, are already on their own TOU plan, and are in the process of updating appliances to energy efficient equipment with the help of SDG&E. Currently, the majority of residential customers, unfortunately, reside in the high usage charge tier, consuming the most amount of energy during on-peak hours.
The 2019 Time-Of-Use Transition Communications Plan began with an “awareness of change” postcard issued 90 days prior, followed by a 60-day pre-transition notice complete with a personalized pricing plan comparison and a reply card. At 30-days prior, SDG&E customers received a pre-transition reminder and insert. During the transition month, TOU plan participants received a Welcome Brochure from Whendell, SDG&E’s personified smartwatch spokesperson used to educate consumers on TOU electricity plans. Whendell also appeared in many local messaging strategies such as billboards, commercials, transit and print. SDG&E continued communication throughout the first year, providing access to personalized videos for users to get the most out of their TOU plan, and updates information on pricing differentiation between summer and winter months. At 10 months, users received a Bill Protection notice, allowing for unsatisfied customers to reinstate their original plan free of charge.
TOU plans are easily accessible through an online portal at sdge.com/whenmatters. Here customers can find additional enrollment information about their TOU plan. Available in both English and Spanish, and soon in both Vietnamese and Chinese, the “whenmatters” site is personalized and convenient for every user. Not only does the site provide everyday energy tips such as a list of common household items regularly consuming energy, it also showcases a personalized Electricity Dashboard for users to easily track their energy progress.
As SDG&E continues to work towards a cleaner San Diego, Scanlan shared with the group the attention TOU plans are receiving statewide. “Keep it Golden” is California’s statewide campaign for an energy upgrade. The campaign highlights why Californians should care about energy use, educates residents regarding efforts to limit the use of energy during on-peak hours and provides tips to adjust energy usage for a successful TOU plan.
In closing, Scanlan encouraged attendees to discuss TOU plans with their neighbors. She provided several talking points including the time energy is used, the benefits of TOU plans including bill protection and progression tracking, and the pricing plan comparison tool available on sdge.com/whenmatters. Scanlan expressed the necessity for these conversations to help spread TOU plan adoption, leading California to a cleaner, more energy efficient future.
In addition to Scanlan’s Time-of-Use educational update, attendees also received legislative reports from Kyle Krahel-Frolander from Congressman Mike Levin’s office, Christopher Marsh from CA Senator Pat Bates’ office, Fernando Hernandez with Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath’s office, Shaina Richardson with County Supervisor Jim Desmond’s office, and other community leaders including San Diego Water Authority and MainStreet Oceanside.