SCE Proposes Bill Relief for Lower-Income Customers

Energized by Edison

By Ron Gales ENERGIZED by Edison Writer

Providing bill relief for millions of lower-income customers is central to a proposal Southern California Edison filed today with the California Public Utilities Commission. The proposal would also lower the amount all residential customers pay for each kilowatt-hour of electricity while increasing transparency in their bills. 

Because of a recently passed state law (Assembly bill 205), the commission is holding a proceeding to implement a fixed charge on electric bills, based on a household’s income level. This means that customers from lower-income households would pay a lower fixed charge than those from higher-income households. 

“We understand that our customers are dealing with rising costs of all kinds and are working to keep customers’ bills as manageable as possible,” said SCE President and CEO Steven D. Powell. “SCE believes an income-based fixed charge will provide benefits to millions of customers, particularly those most in need of energy bill relief. It will also make it easier for more Californians to afford clean energy technologies.”

How would it work? 

The proceeding will focus on basing electric bills on two main charges:

A monthly fixed charge to cover certain fixed costs of providing electric service. For example, the costs of safely building, maintaining and operating the electric grid, of providing customer support, and the cost of state initiatives to help income-qualified customers and energy-efficiency programsAn energy charge based on the electricity the customer uses during their billing period.

While these would not represent new or additional charges, they would restructure how electric bills are calculated.

Under the proposal, SCE’s approximately 1.2 million lower-income customers would receive an average 16%-21% bill reduction, and about half of SCE’s customers would see lower bills, assuming no change in electricity use. Rates for each unit of electricity consumed (kilowatt-hours) would decrease by about 33% for all residential customers. 

The proposal also recommends the monthly fixed charge for SCE’s lower-income customers be as low as $15 but no greater than $20; and the highest fixed charge, for customers in the top 19% of earners, be $85.

If adopted, the proposal would make monthly bills more predictable for customer planning purposes. It would also support California’s climate and energy policies by making the use of clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, more affordable, particularly for lower-income families. 

The proposal recommends that customers’ income verification be managed by a qualified, independent state agency or third party; the utilities would not manage nor have direct access to such data. 

The proceeding is expected to last through mid-2024. 

Learn more about SCE’s work to lower energy bills at sce.com/customer-service/working-for-you.

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