Mills added that Edison's agricultural customers should familiarize themselves with their energy usage and how the change will impact their future energy bills.
"Edison has tools available that should help customers understand what the impacts will be from the switch to time-of-use rates," Mills said, adding that Edison representatives will be available at the Trade Show next week during the CFBF Annual Meeting in Monterey.
Edison has provided online tools it says are intended to help customers make the transition, including an online program known as "My Account," where customers can view their energy usage on a monthly, daily or even hourly basis. The online tool becomes available for customers after 12 months of information from their smart meters is available; customers are transitioned to the time-of-use rate after the meters have accumulated at least 12 months of data.
Customers will be able to see at a glance when and how much energy is being used, Garwacki said. Also, by setting monthly spending goals and automated alerts with "Budget Assistant," a free online tool, he said Edison customers can stay on top of their energy spending.
To learn more and find the online tools intended to help customers manage the transition to time-of-use rates, go to www.sce.com/tou. Edison customers with questions about the upcoming changes may call 866-743-1645 or email TOUsolutions@sce.com.
In the PG&E service area, eligible small and medium-sized agricultural customers began transitioning to time-of-use rates as of this March. PG&E customers who had smart meters installed on their accounts were transitioned from flat rates to mandatory time-of-use rates. Unless a different rate is selected, PG&E customers will transition to AG4A or 4B schedules as appropriate.
PG&E emphasized that the goal of its new rates is to encourage conservation when energy demand is highest. The company said customers who conserve during high-demand periods can save money on their overall electric bills.
(Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)