Energy Rates for Businesses

The price of many things has increased over the past few years and energy is no exception. With recent California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decisions, energy costs for most businesses will continue to go up.  We want to help you understand why costs are increasing, as well as steps you can take to manage your use and help lower your costs.

Your Energy Use

Some of our customers’ accounts may be required to change from their current A rate to another rate because their energy demand has been trending higher than the maximum demand level provided for under the A rate.  Demand is the measurement of how much energy is used at any one time.

Accounts on the A rate must have energy demand of less than 20kW for at least one month in a 12 month period. 

Use the chart below to learn how demand is measured and how shifting usage of certain equipment can help lower your demand.

If these customers’ demand continues to be above 20 kW, they may need to change to a new rate, which may be more costly.

Rate Information

The first part of understanding rates is knowing what makes up your electric bill. Most SDG&E business customers fall into one of three main billing rates for electricity, based on the amount of electricity used, and in the case of many larger customers, demand for electricity.

How can I tell what rate my business is on? - If you look at your SDG&E bill, under the “Electric Service” section you’ll see what rate your business is on.

Understanding the A-Rate - If you are a small business customer, you’re likely on the “A” rate which is a flat rate for businesses that use less than 20 kW demand per month. KW, or demand is the highest rate of energy use during a 15-minute interval. Your maximum annual demand, or kW is used to determine your monthly Customer Charge. The Customer Charge is tiered, so the higher your annual maximum demand, the higher your monthly Customer Charge.  Please contact our Energy Savings Center at 1-800-644-6133 to see what we can do to help you stay under the 20 kW threshold.

Understanding the Pumping-Agricultural (PA) Rate - If you’re an agricultural business, you’re likely on the “PA” rate - a flat rate for agricultural businesses using up to 300,000 kWh per month.

Understanding the Time-of-Use (AL-TOU) Rate - If your business is regularly with more than 20kW of demand a month, you’re likely on the Time of Use “AL-TOU” rate.

Understanding the Time of Use and Time of Use Plus Rate – If your business is currently on the “A” or “PA” rate and can reduce its electricity use during high demand (on-peak) hours, you can save by taking advantage of low off-peak prices. Consider one of the Whenergy Plans.

What goes into energy rates?

Electricity rates have a commodity component and a delivery component. We bill for the cost of the electricity (commodity) itself, plus the infrastructure (wires, transformers, power plants and other things) that deliver the energy to you.  There are also charges that include taxes, fees, and public programs.

SDG&E does not make money on the commodity cost of the energy, only on the delivery infrastructure we build in addition to other operating costs to deliver the energy.  To learn more about how SDG&E makes money, watch this video.

Energy-Saving Solutions

We want to work with you to save energy.  If you are one of the SDG&E customers impacted by the current rate increase or you just want to find some ways to save, we offer a variety of programs, services and assistance to help you manage your energy costs.

  • Download our brochure with the low-cost and no-cost ways you can save energy at your business.
  • If you haven’t already, signup for My Account to track your energy use with our online energy management tool. To use it, sign into My Account on, then click the “My Energy” tab.
  • Take an energy assessment. We’ll come to your place of business to identify equipment that can be replaced to save energy and money.  Once the best places to save are identified, you may be eligible for technologies like lighting and refrigeration upgrades, at no cost to you.
  • We can help you make an investment for longer-term energy-saving benefits through rebates and financial incentives that help offset the costs of replacing or retrofitting most of the energy using equipment at your business.
  • To find out more about ways to save in a particular industry, visit our industry resource pages for tools, tips and services designed to help businesses of all types and sizes.
  • Visit our Energy Innovation Center to enroll in a workshop or training on the latest energy-efficient technology.

If at any time you need help with your bill, we also offer a variety of convenient and secure payment options and assistance. And consider our Level Pay program to even out your bill payment from month-to month.

The Long-Term Solution

California has experienced monumental changes in our energy environment – where we get electricity and how we pay for it – but the basic structure of electric rates hasn’t changed. The long-term solution to combat rising rates will depend on statewide rate reform, while still maintaining our environmental and renewable goals.

For more information on rates, the best ways to save energy and the services we have to assist you, call