If you are connected to the SDG&E grid, you must pay SDG&E minimum charge every month just for being connected. However, SDG&E also has to give you something in return – your baseline allowance. Many SDG&E customers are confused about baseline, especially now that SDG&E is shifting their customers over to time-of-use rates. Let’s have a deeper look at the concept.
What is baseline?
Baseline is a basic monthly amount of electricity that you get which is around half the average daily consumption of consumers in a given geographical neighborhood. This basic electricity allotment is also sold to you at the utility company’s cheapest rates (15% to 25% cheaper than regular rates).
Head over to SDG&E website, have your bill handy and try out their baseline calculator. By entering the required information, you can find out an estimate of your baseline allowance. However, your bill should state your actual baseline allowance and high usage amounts. What you get if you visit the website is the opportunity to see how different factors affect your baseline allowance.
What factors affect the baseline?
Factors that are at play when it comes to determining your baseline are:
- Where you live (coastal, inland, mountain and desert zones), because that affects how much A/C or heating you need
- Whether your home is all electric or uses both electricity and gas, because all-electric homes get a higher baseline
- What season it is
- How much electricity your neighbors use, because your baseline is around 50 to 60 percent of their usage
- Whether you or person you live with has a special medical condition that requires a medical device, because then you could be eligible to a higher baseline
- The number of billing days in month
Can you keep within your baseline?
It’s a common misconception that your baseline allowance was designed to meet your basic electricity needs. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Baselines are targets, which were envisioned to offer consumers a fixed amount of affordable electricity. In today’s day and age and our dependence on technology, it’s nearly impossible for non-solar San Diego residents to stay within baseline boundaries.
Is baseline relevant at all, with the new SDG&E time-of-use rates?
Yes, baseline is still relevant. The electricity you consume in a month is broken up into two usage levels (tiers). You start the month in the baseline. As you consume that, you go over to the next level which is: your baseline + 30%. If you use more than that, you go to the next level.
Time-of-use plans are not replacing the baseline system. They work together, because the electricity that you buy from SDG&E has a time period component and baseline component.
How can you save and stick as close to the baseline as possible?
We recommend going solar. When you power your home through solar, even partially, you save money and save the planet. Not only do you start saving money right away, but you save future money too. Electricity rates are only going up. It’s a trend that’s nowhere near change. The sooner you go solar, the better. The prices of installing residential solar have been steadily dropping. Even though net metering options have changed for new solar owners, bear in mind that solar will still definitely make sense in the foreseeable future because SDG&E will always, definitely, be looking for ways to secure their profits off homeowners.
Find out how you could get closer to your baseline – get an estimate today
Action Solar is here to give you a free estimate for your solar installation project. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and have all your questions regarding solar installation answered by trusted industry leaders.