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LADWP and Edison rates are rising. What you can do to lower your bill

Electrical grid pylons in Victorville.
Electrical grid pylons in Victorville.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
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If you are a Los Angeles County resident who gets electricity through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power or Southern California Edison, you have probably been shocked by a recent increase in your monthly bill.

Even more frustrating, your bill probably went up even if you haven’t changed how much power you use.

The reason: The LADWP approved a budget in June that included a rate increase to help fund the maintenance of the utility‘s infrastructure, including replacing poles, cross arms, transformers and transmission lines, said Ann Santilli, chief financial officer for the LADWP.

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“It’s really to ensure that we have reliable service throughout the city,” Santilli said.

That’s reflected on bills by an increase that can go as high as 1.1% in your total consumption charge. But the increase isn’t consistently applied, as the LADWP only hikes the rate when it spends to fund maintenance or repairs on existing infrastructure projects.

For Edison customers, an increase approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2022 hiked rates by 17%, with further increases going into effect Jan. 1.

The average monthly residential electric bill was set to jump from $174.70 to $178.34, a 2% increase, after Jan. 1, Edison said.

The utility says the rate increases are needed to cover the rising cost of purchased power and ongoing grid maintenance and repair.

Southern California Edison to pay $80 million after its equipment sparked the deadly 2017 Thomas fire that ravaged Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Feb. 26, 2024

There are changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your electricity use — and your bill. There are also programs to help with payment plans.

How can you reduce your electricity use?

If you are an LADWP customer, you can take a closer look at your energy consumption with the online Energy Advisor Tool. After answering a series of questions, you’ll be given tips to reduce your energy consumption.

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The tool offers a home energy calculator, bill analysis, energy forecasting, rebate recommendations and savings tips.

There are also several steps you can take to reduce energy use around your house, such as changing the way you use wall outlets.

Edison suggests that, rather than directly into a wall outlet, you plug your your appliances, TVs and device chargers into power strips that you can turn off when the equipment isn’t in use, reducing your power consumption.

The California Public Utilities Commission suggests you charge your laptop, cellphone or tablets before 3 p.m. or after 9 p.m. when electricity rates are lower.

Instead of running your clothes dryer, line dry your clothes if you have the space in your home.

An income-based utility fee may raise money for renewable energy upgrades, but it doesn’t encourage conservation. Charge more for higher power usage instead.

Feb. 14, 2024

Older appliances that are plugged in all day might be using a lot more energy than you realize, Santilli said.

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For example, some customers have multiple refrigerators, including an older, energy-gobbling refrigerator in the garage. It might be time to consider whether the second appliance is necessary.

Another update you can do is to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. It helps cut power costs and is an inevitable switch due to the Energy Department’s efficiency rules that went into effect in 2022 taking most incandescent bulbs off the market.

That tip applies to outdoor lighting as well, Santilli said, suggesting customers look for outdoor lighting that is low voltage and uses less power.

Need assistance paying your electricity bill?

Learning what repayment programs or discounts you qualify for is a phone call away for LADWP customers.

You can talk to an expert who will help you determine what you can afford to pay each month as well as whether you qualify for any discounts, said Ellen Cheng, media relations manager for the LADWP.

“If [the customer] needs help spreading out those payments, we’re here to help and we’re actually very accommodating and eager to work with our customers,” Cheng said.

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Cheng points to two programs for customers having trouble paying their bills, though they don’t provide discounts:

  • Level Pay assesses your annual energy usage and then calculates a monthly average so you pay roughly the same amount every month. That lowers your bill in months when you use the most electricity (typically the summer) and raises it in months when you use the least (typically the winter).
  • Extended payment arrangements give EZ-SAVE and Lifeline customers up to 48 months to pay their overdue balances with no interest charges or fees.

To enroll in either program, call (800) 342-5397 or, for TDD service, (800) 432-7397.

Despite the challenges, the state’s clean energy goals can be reached and the power system will be more reliable, a top California grid executive says.

Jan. 29, 2024

Edison’s Lifeline Rate Program offers seniors and disabled customers a discount on their electric and other utility bills.

Eligible customers can also sign up for a payment program where charges are divided into equal installments and billed separately each month apart from your current bill. See eligibility rules online.

Edison also has two programs to help qualifying families lower their monthly bills:

Call (800) 798-5723 for more information or to apply. Applications can also be submitted by mail or online.

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