How Your Rate Changes with Your Usage

The electricity you use in a month is broken up into two tiers.  It may be helpful to think of tiers as usage levels.  As you use electricity during the month, you move up from one tier or usage level to the next and the price you get charged goes up.

Your Baseline Allowance Defined

Your baseline allowance is for basic needs such as heating, cooking, lighting, and refrigeration. You start off the billing cycle in Tier 1.  Tier 1 is usage up to 130% of your baseline allowance. You can find your baseline allowance on your bill by the meter number. Multiply this number by 1.3 to find your Tier 1 usage amount.

In Tier 1 your usage gets billed at the lowest rate per kWh.   But once you’ve used this amount you move up to Tier 2. 

Tier 1 Is The Least Expensive

Tier 1 is the least expensive. Tier 2 costs more. Managing your energy use so that you stay in tier 1 can lower your overall bill.

Your baseline allowance takes the following into account

The climate where you live

SDG&E’s service area is divided into four different climate zones: (1) Coastal, (2) Inland, (3) Mountain, and (4) Desert. Each climate zone is assigned different daily baseline allowances.  Baseline is a “per day” amount, so months with more billing days receive more baseline. Baseline also varies between summer and winter, and by how you heat your home. 

Map showing SDG&E’s service territorydivided into four different climate zones: 1 Coastal, 2 Inland, 3 Mountain, and 4 Desert.

The time of year

The daily baseline allowance varies by season. For residential customers, the summer season is defined as May 1 through October 31 and the winter season is defined as November 1 through April 30.

The type of service you have

Customers that receive both electric and natural gas service, will have different baseline allowances (basic service baseline allowances) than customers with all electric service (all electric baseline allowances).