Opinion: Fixed Charge on Electric Bills Will Do Little for Low-Income Households

The fixed charge advocated by San Diego Gas & Electric and promoted by the utility-funded Predictable Power Coalition will do little to slow the impact of SDGE’s relentlessly rising rates.

The fixed charge savings for lower-income customers receiving the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) discount will be consumed by SDGE rate increases within about a year. These charges will also be a major blow to most existing rooftop solar owners and potential future rooftop solar adopters, whether they be CARE customers or those in higher income tiers.

The average CARE customer will save about $13 per month in the first year that fixed charges are applied using SDGE’s sample calculation. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) projects that SDGE rates will increase at an average of about 10% per year for years to come. That means the $13 per month in savings the CARE customer sees in Year 1 will be gone by Year 2.