March 13, 2007

Participants can save up to $200 this summer

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, Calif., March 13, 2007—Ever since he signed up for Southern California Edison’s Summer Discount Plan two years ago, Eric Coyne of Visalia has come to appreciate the savings in electricity bills and hardly noticed any change in service. 

“It’s been great for our bill, and it’s really been transparent,” said Coyne of the program that allows participants to get up to $200 in bill credits on electricity bills.  “My wife got a coworker to sign up, and my chiropractor’s in the program too.  They’re like us; they’re at work during the day.  During the day, when you’re at work, you don’t even notice if the air gets turned off at home.”

With the Southland currently experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures, SCE is encouraging customers to enroll now so that they can be eligible for the same bill credits Coyne gets every summer (June through September) in return for allowing SCE to interrupt their air conditioner during power-supply emergencies. 

There are already more than 213,000 customers participating in the program, but SCE this year is re-emphasizing its efforts to increase that number so that more customers with central air conditioners can sign up for energy savings.  The program only turns off the designated air conditioner and leaves on the power for lights, fans, cooking, entertainment, and other appliances.

 The re-emphasis was prompted by a California Public Utilities Commission order directing SCE to secure an additional 225 megawatts of demand-response capacity by summer 2007.  (Demand-response programs lower the consumption of electricity when supplies are tight. A megawatt is enough electricity to power approximately 650 homes.)

Expanding the company’s air conditioner interruption program by more than 125,000 devices over a 12-month period is a challenging initiative, one of several efforts being pursued by SCE to meet capacity needs this summer.

“Having your air conditioner possibly shut off for a few hours on a hot day doesn’t sound very appealing,” said Lynda Ziegler, SCE senior vice president for customer service.  “But, historically, our air condition program has only been activated a few times a year, on average about three times annually, if you discount 2000, the year of the California energy crisis.  Even last summer with all the record heat and all the record electricity usage, our a/c program was only activated twice. “

The Summer Discount Plan includes both commercial and residential customers—among them SCE employees, managers, and executives—and only affects designated air conditioners.  A small, radio-controlled device installed by SCE on the air conditioner(s) temporarily turns off the air conditioner when needed. 

“That means that even if we activate the program and temporarily shut down your air conditioner, you still have power for lights, cooking, entertainment, and other appliances,” said Ziegler. 

There are two residential plans available:

  • Base Plan: allows for a maximum of 15 possible temporary shutdowns or “cycling” times per year for up to a $100 bill credit, and
  • Enhanced Plan: provides twice the base credit amount for allowing an unlimited number of times per year for the possible cycling of a customer’s air conditioner for up to a credit of $200.

SCE is the nation’s leader in energy-efficiency savings.   During the past five years, SCE customers have saved more than four billion kilowatt-hours by participating in the utility’s energy-efficiency programs — enough energy to power 500,000 homes for an entire year — and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than two million tons – the equivalent of removing 250,000 cars from the road.  In 2006, SCE funded consumer rebates for approximately 6 million compact fluorescent light bulbs and handed out 218,000 free ones to limited-income customers.

Customers wanting specific program information can call 1-800-497-2813 or visit www.sce.com and click “Rebates & Savings.” While at the Web site, residential customers can find energy-saving tips and take a free home energy survey, which provides a fast, helpful analysis of energy usage and costs based on the customer’s billing history.

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An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.7 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.