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Summer electric bills may still cost more in Sacramento despite stay-home orders

Sacramento energy users prepare for the summer time-of-day increases, while continuing to stay at home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The summer months are coming, and people are indoors more often than not during the statewide stay-at-home order issued last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the temperatures rise, people in Sacramento are wondering whether time-of-day rates will return. SMUD spokesperson Lindsay VanLaningham said the structure of rates launched last year never went away.

"It doesn't start in summer; time of day is right now," she said.

VanLaningham points out that when it is not summer, as it is now, customers pay a time-of-day rate that is cheaper than in the summer time-of-day rate. Now, energy can cost from $0.10 to $0.14 per kilowatt-hour.

After June 1, when the summer rates kick in, energy could cost from $0.12 to $0.29 per kilowatt-hour.

Credit: Courtesy SMUD
A picture depicts the breakdown of SMUD's time-of-day rates.

Customers who are at home more have a more exceptional ability to do tasks requiring a lot of energy in the off-peak hours, which could save them money, VanLaningham said.

Knowing that many people in Sacramento are struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic, SMUD has also lowered the threshold to allow for more people to be eligible for the Energy Assistance Program Rate. Customers can check if they are now eligible on the utility's website.

VanLaningham said they are trying what they can to help customers, the community, and SMUD employees.

"We are trying to do what we can," VanLaningham said. "We aren't cutting off power; we aren't charging late fees."

SMUD decided not to charge late fees nor turn off the power should a customer not be able to pay as a result of the stay at home orders for the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to make sure everyone has safe and reliable power during this time," VanLaningham said.

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