This month, San Diego Gas and Electric announced a plan to significantly raise rates starting in 2019. This 11% utility increase would flow directly to commercial and residential customers. By increasing profits by $218 million, customers would see on average a $6.13 increase in monthly bill for electricity, and a $7.57 increase for gas. The San Diego utility increase plan would affect all customers. This escalation plan is outlined until 2022, and they will likely ask for another price increase when this proposal terminates.
Southern California already sits as one of the the most expensive areas in the nation for electricity, and this plan will only increase the disparity. The money raised in this plan will be put towards safety and reliability, customer service, environmental stewardship, and investing in their workforce.
This stark increase in prices will force many into looking at ways to decrease their bill. Adopting solar technology comes to mind first for many people. Although renewables are a great option to lower bills, it doesn’t actually cut how much energy is being used, just switching where the energy is coming from. The best option to look at first is switching to energy efficient lighting and appliances.
LED lighting is the easiest option to see a quick reduction in bills. Replacing old CFLs or incandescents can create an upwards of 50% savings in lighting costs on a utility bill. A financial analyst will tell you that a return on interest above 7% is generally a good investment, and these projects are rarely lower than 20% and regularly above 100%. Not only are the energy savings attractive, LED adopters also save money because of the technology’s lifespan. LED lights last approximately 50,000 hours, or 50 times longer than a CFL bulb. If used on average 12 hours a day, these lights last 11 years!
There are more benefits than only monetary when switching to LED lighting, and can even improve property value. The Energy Smiths offer a free lighting consultation to see where savings and improvements can be made. Make improvements NOW to be prepared for the steep utility increase!