The Costs of SC Edison’s Green Rate Programs
We evaluate the costs of SCE’s Green Rate Programs, and the Cleanness of the Energy being paid for.
The actual source of the electrons delivered to your house does not change with different plans, but the accounting adds a Premium that goes to pay for or develop more solar power. By Clean Energy we mean sources that produce very little or no CO2 greenhouse gas. This is more comprehensive than Renewable Energy, since it includes Nuclear Power and Large Hydro categories.
We use the 2018 description of the programs, compared to the latest, 2016, Power Content Label. This gave Coal (0%), Nuclear (6%), Biomass and Waste (1%), Geothermal (7%), Solar (10%), Wind (10%), Large Hydroelectric (6%), Natural Gas (19%), and Unspecified Sources (41%)! The Unspecified Sources is enormous due to the cancellation of the two San Onofre nuclear reactors in 2012. These sources are uncontracted out-of-state power sources, and have stayed almost constant since then. The sum of the Clean Energy sources is already 40% of SCE power, without any extra Green plans. Having no coal but high efficiency Natural Gas plants is also relatively clean power.
The SCE 100% Solar Green Rate Program adds a Premium of 3.15 cents per kiloWatt hour (kWh) to support or purchase solar power, in the amount you are using. That is also looked at as $3.15 per 100 kWh. The average home supplied by SCE uses 550 kWh per month. If that home opts for the 100% solar plan, the added Premium is $17.33 per month, or $208 per year. That guarantees them the support of 100% clean solar power to feel good about.
If that seems high, you can opt for the 50% Green Solar Program, which supports 50% of your energy by clean solar. But there is an added advantage here. The rest of your energy is already 40% clean, so your clean energy is 50% plus 0.40 of the other 50%, giving 50% plus 20% clean, or a total of 70% clean, which is still a good feeling. Since you are paying for half the solar power of the 100% plan, the Premium of $3.15 per 100 kWh is applied to only half of your energy bill. So the average home using 550 kWh per month only pays the Premium on 225 kWh per month. It’s extra charge is then half of the $17.33, or $8.67 a month, or $104 per year, which is much more affordable.
So the three programs of standard plan, 50% plan or 100% plan give you clean energy at 40%, 70%, or 100%, respectively.
The Premium of the 100% Solar in 2017 was $3.79 per 100kWh, so the $3.15 per 100 kWh premium for 2018 is 17% or one-sixth less cost than last year’s plan.
Many homes are rentals or shared condos, where you cannot put in your own solar power. Also, large desert solar arrays are more economical than individual household solar arrays. So for many people, this is a way to get more or all solar power, with no permanent commitment or financing.
For those with all-electric or plug-in electric cars, this is a way to go to the ideal of ZERO CO2 pollution with your automobile transportation.
The details of the SCE Green Rate Programs are given on this website.
In order to estimate the increased cost for the average household, we make approximations of the tiered charging structure. Small differences between local regions 6 and 8, and winter and summer tier 1 maximums will be approximated as 10 kWh per day (they range from 9.1 to 10.4). For a thirty day month, that means tier 1 covers 0 to 300 kWh at $0.17 per kWh. Tier 2 covers up to 400% of that, or from 300 to 1,200 kWh at $0.25 per kWh. The average household at 550 kWh per month then accrues 300 kWh for $51 in tier 1, and 250 kWh at $0.25 per kWh for $63 in tier 2, for a total of $114 a month.
The 100% Solar Green Rate Program costing them a Premium of $17 per month, is then 17/114 or a 15% premium. This is then not such a large premium for knowing you are investing in a stable planet for yourselves and your offspring.