The state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday authorized pilot programs for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison to offer commercial, industrial and agricultural customers discounts for using energy in the middle of the day.
It’s being called “Matinee Pricing.”
The commissioners want to see if they can get larger customers to consume more energy in the afternoon, when sunny skies produce an overabundance of solar energy, and use less energy in the early evening, when people are home and overall demand peaks.
The afternoon used to be the period of highest energy use, but that’s no longer the case, Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval said.
“High afternoon rates were designed to encourage customers to conserve power during that time, and created incentives to shift demand to the afternoon or evening,” Sandoval said.
“California’s current energy supply and demand portfolio reflects a generational shift to abundant energy generation in the afternoon, particularly on sunny days when solar systems generate large amounts of energy,” she said. “Peak energy consumption has shifted to the evening between 4-9 p.m., yet our current pricing structure drives commercial users to those same evening hours to take advantage of lower rates.”
She said the “Matinee Pricing” pilot programs will help balance energy supply and demand, and provide incentives for commercial, industrial and agricultural customers to shift their energy use to afternoons when abundant low-water using energy is produced.
“We look forward to the lessons learned from these pilots to help California better manage its water and energy resources, and achieve energy sustainability,” Sandoval said.
The experiments will take place in the spring of 2018 and spring of 2019.
‘Matinee Pricing’ OK’d for SDG&E’s Larger Customers, by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, November 10, 2016.