Southern California Edison Shifts Peak User Times, with Mixed Results for Commercial HVAC Users

Plan Your Utility Usage Accordingly

Commercial HVAC, energy saving

In the heat of summer, it seems intuitive that the most expensive hours for commercial HVAC would be those hot afternoons when even the coldest iced coffee seems to melt immediately, and a team meeting can feel longer than the movie version of Anna Karenina, minus the subtitles. Indeed, it’s worked that way for a while here in the Southland, making summer utility bills a real problem for cost-conscious business and property owners.

Solar Power Changes the Power Game for Southern California

You can imagine, then, that there was much fanfare this spring when SCE announced there would be major changes to how and when peak user times worked. As of summer 2019, evening hours would be charged as peak rates, rather than afternoons. With the push towards renewable energy sources, power companies are responding to the many solar panels now installed across the Los Angeles basin. This energy saving equipment works best when the sun is highest in the sky, i.e. summer afternoons.

And at first, this seems like a great deal, right? Unless your business stays open after dark, surely the evening rates would be a boon to your utility bills and HVAC operation. Except it’s not, especially if you continue utilizing your HVAC in the same way you did before this billing algorithm changed.

Smart Energy Usage Means Smart Changes to Your Operating Schedule

The fact is that as afternoons slide into night, solar panels stop producing power, pretty much all at the same time. This means the energy grid powering Southern California suddenly sees a sharp drop in energy supplies. To compensate, this means Edison must fire up gas generator plants and utilize fossil fuels to keep the lights on and the air conditioners working across Los Angeles.

To stay cost effective, make sure any of your bigger product runs or intense lighting usage occurs around midday. The old rules about cooling and taking big power drains after noon no longer apply. Instead, begin shedding load after 3:30.

It’s important. As Andre Ramirez recently explained to the Los Angeles Times, “We’ve got over 4 million residential customers and we need to educate all of them,” said Andre Ramirez, a senior advisor for pricing design and research at Edison. “We’re trying to make this info as easy to digest as possible.”

The Old HVAC Rules No Longer Apply

Have questions? Unsure how these new rules affect your indoor comfort, especially during those hot summer afternoons? Give the commercial HVAC experts at Air-Tro a call today to discuss. After all, in the energy business as in commerce, the world continues to evolve. Stay on top of these changes, and enjoy cost effective, peak performance all around.

Keep your utility costs low with commercial HVAC service, repair and installation from the Southland’s leading heating and air conditioning company: Air-Tro. Call us today at (626) 357-3535.