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Program Helps Reduce Demand and Keep Everyone’s Lights On

SCE customers who sign up for the Summer Discount Plan can help conserve and save up to $200 on their electricity bill.
By Mary Ann Milbourn

Patrick Riley knows the value of taking a “load off” during the summer. The Southern California Edison program manager not only oversees the company’s Summer Discount Plan, he has participated in it since 1988.

Under the program, customers allow SCE to attach a device to their air conditioner compressor. During major energy events when the California Independent System Operator orders SCE to reduce the load on the grid, the air conditioners can be remotely turned off for up to six hours a day.

Customers who participate receive bill credits of up to $200 between June 1 and Oct. 1, based on the tonnage of their air conditioner. Currently about 285,000 residential customers and 11,000 commercial customers are on the plan.

The average customer bill credit is  $160.

Riley admits to getting some ribbing from his neighbors during hot days. “But when you see your bill at the end of the month and you’ve saved up to $50, it’s not too bad.”

Besides saving customers money, Riley noted the program helps the reliability of the power grid  “With the program, we’ve helped to avoid outages,” Riley said.

That could be especially important this summer with the possibility of electricity outages due to the closure of the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

SCE provides Summer Discount Plan options that limit the time the air conditioner is turned off, but that will also reduce their cost savings.

To better plan, customers can ask to be notified of a coming event by phone call, email or a text message. For more information on the Summer Discount Plan: on.sce.com/summerdiscountplan.

Tips for keeping cool

  • When the air conditioner is off, turn on a ceiling fan.
  • Set a bowl of ice in front of a tabletop fan. Then use the melted water for your potted plants.
  • Use energy-efficient thermal blackout curtains to keep heat from coming into the house.
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