17 Ways To Pay Less For Your SCE Bill

Energy costs can add up fast. Check out these tips to shrink your SCE bill, and one that even pays YOU!

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Katie Overmonds
May 30, 2019

Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ve probably experienced the blow of opening your monthly electricity bill in the mail and getting sticker shock from an amount due that’s way higher than you expect. It’s a common part of modern day life with electronics and gadget use on the rise, and one that you’ve likely heard your neighbors lamenting as electricity rates increase – “Why is my electric bill so high? Why does it keep going up?”.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to find the source of high electricity bills and resolve them so that you can minimize the impact on your wallet. Here are some ideas to start the troubleshooting process, along with some suggestions on what to do about your high electric bill.

1. Get paid to unplug once per week with OhmConnect

Haven’t heard of OhmConnect yet? It’s a free, secure service that pays you to save energy when demand across California is high and the electrical grid is overworked.

How it works:

  1. Around once per week you’ll receive an SMS or email notification letting you know about an upcoming OhmHour.
  2. You unplug unnecessary items and turn down the thermostat for that hour - anything you can do to use less power. (Some committed folks even flip their circuit breakers!)
  3. If you used less energy than you were predicted to, you earn money.

Find out more about the program and see if you’re eligible, here.

2. Paint your roof white

A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Heat Island Group found that in sunny climates, buildings with white roofs required up to 40% less energy for cooling than those with black roofs. At current utility rates, that means you could save more than $100 per year in cooling costs.

3. Swap out your windows

Prevent chilly winter drafts, and an unexpectedly high bill, by adding a layer of insulation with storm windows. This one requires some outlay: windows plus installation can cost $200 to $300 each, though you can reduce that cost by installing them yourself. But depending on the type of window you’re replacing, it can reduce heat loss by 10-20 percent—which can add up to some serious savings over the long run. Heating and cooling typically account for 50 percent of your energy bill.  

4. Run your ceiling fans year-round

When it comes to your heating bill, make sure that you have your ceiling fans rotating clockwise in the winter time. That pushes the warm air downward, allowing for less use of your system for heat. Doing so could reduce your heating bills by around 10 percent.

5. Adjust your thermostat

The optimal winter temp is 68 and summer is 73 —it keeps your home warm and your heating and cooling bills low. Go up or down one degree at a time until you reach your ultimate goal - You’ll typically save around 3 percent per degree.

6. Better yet, upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat

Programmable thermostats: Using the four pre-programmed settings, which allow you to adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule, can save you up to $180 a year.

Smart thermostats: These little guys not only let you you monitor and control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, PC or tablet —but can help reduce your energy bill too. That’s because these devices can monitor temperature and humidity inside and outside your home, your comings and goings, and tailor heating and cooling cycles accordingly.

Get a great deal on a smart thermostat in the Ohmconnect store!

7. Pull the plug

Unplug “energy vampires,” like your laptop, TV and cable box, when you’re not using them. (Leaving your computer on all day alone costs an estimated $75 a year.) You can make this task even easier by using power strips with an on/off button.

8. Change your lightbulbs

The average electric bill is a hefty $183 a month—so every dollar saved counts. Energy Star-qualified CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs last about 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. The Department of Energy says one CFL pays for itself in energy savings in less than nine months. After that, the savings go directly into your pocket.

9. Do a nightly energy sweep

We have likely all been guilty of leaving fans, lights or appliances on at night while we sleep, but doing so wastes increasingly expensive energy. To save money, do a nightly sweep through the house to make sure all your electronic devices are turned off before you go to bed. It may be a pain, but the savings from simply turning everything off can add up quickly. For example, just leaving your cable box plugged in and not on for a year would cost you $17.83, according to the Department of Energy. Try turning off your cable box (and other devices) between uses and watch the savings climb.

10. Set your water heater at 120 degrees

Not only does heating your water too hot create the danger of scalding, it can cost you cash. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses to keep water at that temperature, and more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that high temperature. To save even more money, you can turn your electric heater off or turn your gas heater down when you go on vacation to save even more.

11. Check for yourself - Do your meter and utility bill match up?

Utility workers make mistakes just like the rest of us, and when they make mistakes reading your meter, it can be costly. While you’ll probably notice a big error on your utility bill, you may not catch more subtle errors.

Make sure you’re only getting charged for the electricity you actually used by comparing the meter reading on your utility bill to what you actually see on your meter. If the amount on your meter is lower than the one on your bill, that’s a dead giveaway that you’re being overcharged.

SCE Customer Assistance Programs

In addition to the ways listed above, SCE customers may be able to lower their electricity bill by taking part in money-saving programs that come directly from Southern California Edison.

About one-third of SCE’s residential customers are enrolled in income-qualified programs that offer bill discounts and low cost/no cost energy-efficiency products and services. These programs help to not only reduce electricity usage, but may also lower the amount customers pay. Check out the options:

12. California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)

Provides a discount of about 30 percent on monthly electric bills for eligible customers. Households of two would be eligible if the household income is below $32,920 per year. Customers who qualify for CARE may be referred to the Energy Savings Assistance Program for additional help and savings.

For more information: https://www.sce.com/residential/assistance/care-fera

13. Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA)

Provides a reduced monthly discount of 18 percent for income-qualified households of three or more. Households of three would be eligible if the household income is below $51,950 per year.

For more information: https://www.sce.com/residential/assistance/care-fera

14. Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP)

Helps income-qualified customers save money on their bill and conserve energy. Customers may be eligible for free replacement appliances such as an energy-efficient refrigerator, air conditioner and more, as well as home efficiency solutions like weatherization and LED lightbulbs that help save energy and money.

For more information: sce.com/esap.

15. SCE’s Energy Assistance Fund (EAF)

In partnership with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, SCE’s nonprofit Energy Assistance Fund program, funded by customers and SCE employees, provides up to $100 to help customers pay their SCE energy bills when they meet the program’s income qualifications. Assistance is available once during a 12-month period.

Visit sce.com/eaf  and click the “How to Get Assistance” link.

16. Budget Assistant

This free, easy-to-use tool will let customer set monthly spending goals and receive proactive alerts either weekly, mid-month or when they have exceeded the spending goal. This tool will track costs in close to real time and send alerts via email, phone or text.

For more information: sce.com/budgetassistant

17. Level Pay Plan

SCE’s Level Pay Plan offers eligible customers the opportunity to pay for their annual electricity service across 11 equal monthly payments. The Level Pay Plan does not reduce the amount of the bill. Customers are still responsible for paying the full cost of the energy they use, however they can split the cost into equal payments throughout the year.

Visit: sce.com/customer-service/billing-payment

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