High Usage Charge
To encourage conservation, the state has required that a High Usage Charge be added to the Standard Residential Rate Plan as of January 1, 2017, as part of the residential rate structure adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This charge applies to residential customers whose monthly energy usage exceeds 400%* of their baseline allowance, which is significantly higher than the typical house uses.
Every household is provided with a baseline allocation or set amount of kWh of electricity each period – charged at a lower price than energy used above the baseline amount. This reflects the amount of electricity needed to cover your basic energy needs, like lighting, cooking, heating and refrigeration. This varies based on your location.
*For Medical Baseline users on the Standard Residential rate plan, the High Usage Charge applies to customers whose usage exceeds their Tier 2 and medical baseline allowance. Medical Baseline customers receive an additional 16.5 kWh allocation per day in addition to their applicable seasonal baseline for the necessary operation of life-support devices and equipment.
How to Avoid the High Usage Charge
We offer a variety of tools and online resources to help you manage your energy use and avoid the High Usage Charge. There may also be better rate options for you. Learn more about rate options.
A Time-of-Use (TOU) rate may be a better option to help you save on your energy bill since it does not have a High Usage Charge. Learn more about rate options.
Whether you want to supplement the electricity we provide to you, adopt a greener lifestyle or offset the likelihood of a High Usage Charge, you have options for generating your own electricity. We have the information and resources to help you get started, find more information at Net Energy Metering or Make your Own Power.
View and track your energy usage to see if you are projected to pay the High Usage Charge. We’ve enhanced your My Account experience and have incorporated an early warning feature within your bill projections. By using this new feature, you might have time to make adjustments to your usage which can help keep you in the tier 2 usage at a lower cost.
To see what Tier you are currently in and what you are projected to be by the end of your bill cycle, visit My Account, go to the Projected Next Bill section, and click the “How is this calculated” link. This information is updated daily and you will be able to see if the High Usage Charge is projected to be applied based on your current usage.
With Budget Assistant alerts, you can stay on top of your energy bill and avoid any surprises. Customers who select to receive their alerts by email will receive an “early warning” message within their alert if their projected bill includes the High Usage Charge. With this early warning, customers will have the ability to take action to try and avoid the charge before it is applied.
A few more additional features include:
- New mid-month option for selecting when you receive alerts. With this option, we will send you an update half-way through your billing cycle. This is a perfect option for customers who don’t want to receive their alerts weekly, but still want to stay informed.
- New seasonal savings tips have been added to the Budget Assistant email alerts to help you find more ways to save.
To get the most value for your energy dollar, try one or more of these tips:
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with more efficient LEDs.
- Use power strips and turn them off when equipment is not in use.
- Unplug electronic devices and chargers when not in use.
- Consider installing solar panels to produce some or all of your home's electricity.
For more energy-saving tips, visit our Home Energy Guide.
Home Energy Survey
Our Energy Advisor is an online survey that gives you customized savings recommendations. Plus, find out what uses the most energy in your home so you can maximize on your savings. To get started, simply log in and find the Home Energy Advisor.
High Usage Charge FAQ
The baseline allowance reflects the amount of electricity needed to cover an essential portion of the energy you use, like lighting, cooking, heating and refrigeration for your area or baseline zone. Your monthly baseline allowance is provided on your billing statement.
About Baseline (Tier 1)
If you are part of our Residential Tiered Plan, your monthly billing period begins in Tier 1. The amount of electricity allocated to Tier 1 is considered the “baseline allocation,” and reflects the amount of electricity, measured in kWh, needed to cover an essential portion of the energy you use, like lighting, cooking, heating and refrigeration. Every household is provided with a baseline allocation or set amount of kWh of electricity each period – charged at a lower price than energy used above the baseline amount. Learn More >
This baseline allocation is established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and is based on where you live, the season (winter or summer), and whether your home is “all electric” or uses both electricity and gas. For more information or visit our FAQ's.
Refer to this baseline region map to find which baseline region your home is in, and then reference the chart below. This chart reflects the nine baseline regions within our 55,000 square mile service territory and the daily baseline allocation for Tier 1.
Your Bill Has Changed
As with your other energy charges, you will see the High Usage Charge split between Delivery and Generation charges. For Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers, the High Usage Charge will appear only under the Delivery charges.
The image below provides an example of how the High Usage Charge will appear on your bill if you receive this charge. As with your other energy charges, you will see the High Usage Charge split between Delivery and Generation charges.*
*For Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers, the High Usage Charge will appear only under the Delivery charges.
We know paying your bill can be a challenge. Discounted rates and energy-efficiency upgrades are available. Find out if you qualify for assistance through our available programs and offers.
High Usage Verification is required for all CARE household identified as exceeding 400% of their monthly electricity baseline allowance. For more information on completing the verification process, please visit sce.com/verify.
If you are a Net Energy Metering customer, the High Usage Charge is only calculated and applied to the net usage for the month, beyond what you generate. These charges will appear on your monthly bill if incurred, but payment will not be required until your settlement bill.