Environmental Protection

SCE Plan Credits Customers for Emergency Remote Shut-off

Southern California Edison (SCE) is offering its customers dozens of ways to cool down and save on electricity bills.

"There are so many simple things customers can do to save energy this summer," said Gene Rodrigues, SCE's director of Energy Efficiency. "We're offering free and low-cost solutions so that people can stay cool and comfortable, while putting the chill on high summer bills."

SCE's "Summer Discount Plan" (www.sce.com/summer) allows the electricity provider to turn off participating customers' central air conditioner compressors remotely during a summer power emergency. In exchange, the customers get a credit of up to $200 over the summer season. More than 330,000 Southern Californians are enrolled in the program. Customers can do their part to help ensure grid reliability by shifting their major energy use—using washing machines, dryers, dishwashers or power tools — to off-peak hours when the demand on the electricity grid is low.

Old, energy-guzzling refrigerators can add up to $330 a year in electricity costs. SCE customers can arrange to have the company pick up the unit at no charge. In return, customers are paid $50, which they can keep or turn into a tax-deductible donation to the Energy Assistance Fund to help those having trouble paying electricity bills. In addition, the purchase of an Energy Star-qualified model earns a $50 rebate.

Some other easy ways to save are:

  • Line it up: When you line-dry your laundry, clothing will last longer and you can save about $120 a year in electricity costs. The sun is a natural whitener, so there is no need to buy bleach. There is no static cling, so there is no need to buy dryer sheets.
  • Push-button cooking: Using a microwave or toaster oven to reheat or cook small portions can save about 80 percent of the energy that customers would use doing the same on an electric stove. Also, it will reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer.
  • Set and forget: Set the thermostat to 85 degrees when you are out for the day and to 78 degrees when at home to save up to $120 per year. If it is still too warm, run a fan to make it five degrees cooler, and still save energy.
  • Get some shuteye: Set computers and other electronic devices to "sleep" mode when they are idle. Make sure they are all plugged into a power strip that is shut off when not in use—that will save up to $86 a year in energy costs. Household electronics account for about 15 percent of the average electricity bill.
  • Light up your life: Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use only a quarter of the energy as a regular bulb, and last up to 10 times longer. If every household in California switched out five bulbs and replaced them with CFLs, the state would avoid the equivalent of producing greenhouse gases from 400,000 cars. In addition, CFLs create hardly any heat, reducing the need for air-conditioning.

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