SDG&E batteries
An SDG&E employee walks in front of four of giant battery units in Escondido that store power from renewable sources. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego Gas & Electric announced Thursday new time-of-use pricing plans intended to give residents more control over their energy bills and promote the use of renewable energy.

The plans offer savings for customers who can shift some of their energy use outside of the peak hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

As people get home from work in the late afternoon and power from renewable energy sources like solar drops, energy demand across California increases, driving up prices. The new plans offer customers two ways to save — by shifting electricity use to lower-cost hours of the day, or by reducing overall usage.

Over a 24-hour period, customers can take advantage of 19 hours of lower prices. The plans also encourage cleaner power by using energy when renewable resources, like solar and wind, are most readily available.

The utility said that by running the dishwasher or doing laundry during off-peak hours, customers can benefit from lower prices and help the environment. And during the summer, shifting the use of air-conditioners, pool pumps and other large devices before or after the peak can significantly lower monthly bills.

SDG&E is offering a 12-month risk-free trial period for eligible customers who choose a time-of-use plan. Customers can opt out of a plan at any time and SDG&E will credit the difference if they would have saved more on the standard plan.