Customer Support

SDGE Bill Ready Notification

By | Customer Support, Net Metering, Residential, Solar, Utilities | 2 Comments

Understanding Your SDGE Bill Ready Notification

SDGE has changed the format of their Bill Ready Notification in an effort to provide some quick insight to customers, however – as per usual, they seem to have made the information more confusing and convoluted than before. In an effort to help our customers understand their energy consumption and SDGE billing, this page will explain how to read SDGE’s notification.

Time-of-Use Rate Example

SDGE Bill Notification - Time of Use

The terminology used on this new SDGE Bill Ready Notification is confusing, perhaps even incorrect. SDGE shows two initial sections, CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but these only represent CONSUMPTION from the utility or GENERATION sent to the utility. SDGE does not have the ability to measure “behind-the-meter” consumption, which is energy produced by your solar PV system and consumed immediately on-site. The only energy (and data) they see is when your system is producing more energy than you are currently consuming or when you are drawing electricity from the grid, such as at night or on a cloudy day.

These categories shouldn’t be labeled as CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but more accurately as IMPORT and EXPORT. If you read these sections as SDGE implies, you would assume that your solar panel system is under-producing. Because SDGE does not have full data for production, they can only provide limited insight into your system’s performance. These numbers are “netted,” however, which does give you some good insight into your monthly performance for Net Metering. In the NET ENERGY box (located below the incorrectly labeled CONSUMPTION and  GENERATION), you’ll be able to see an accurate account of the difference between these two numbers. If this number is a positive number, that means you imported more electricity from SDGE than you exported during the billing period. If this is a negative number, that means you exported more electricity to SDGE than you imported. A positive number will mean that you’re deducting from your cumulative Net Metering balance, while a negative number means you’re adding energy credits to be used later.

To get an accurate assessment of your system’s production, look at the online monitoring system for your inverters (Enlighten for Enphase customers, SunnyPortal for SMA customers). Through this system, you can pull energy production reports (customizable to the correlating billing period). This report will show you overall system generation, including “behind-the-meter” electricity which is consumed immediately on-site. This number should match or exceed the production expectations set by Solare Energy, though sometimes it may be a little less, depending on weather during the selected period. Solare Energy takes into account factors such as weather variations when designing systems, so rest assured that over the annual period, your system will produce enough electricity to meet or exceed expectations.

Tiered Rate Example
& Enphase Reporting 

The Tiered Bill Ready Notification shown below also has a few discrepancies in the information presented by SDGE. The most obvious mistake is listed in the NET ENERGY box that shows a negative number (more electricity exported to the utility than imported from the utility), yet the text states “You consumed more energy than you generated this period.” This is an obvious mistake, as the “netted” total is listed directly above this statement, on the graph toward the bottom of the page, as well as in the My Account section on SDGE’s website. As this is a new format they’re sending out, it appears that they haven’t yet performed a detailed quality check of these automated emails. Rest assured, if you see this, they will hopefully correct this error before you receive next month’s notification.

While the graph on SDGE’s notification email is the best resource for accurately understanding your NET ENERGY for this billing period, it only represents electricity exported to the utility, and doesn’t include “behind-the-meter” consumption. By running a report for the same period through Enphase Enlighten monitoring, you can see that the system produced 600kWh for the period, well above expectations (even with a few cloudy/rainy days). Taking the NET ENERGY number from SDGE (300kWh) and comparing to the Enphase Enlighten reported production (600kWh), you’ll see that the home in this example consumed about 300kWh over the 29 day cycle, which is on par for this customer’s typical usage. While the tiered rate structure is a bit easier to understand, it usually earns less credit per kilowatt-hour than the time-of-use rate structures.

SDGE Bill Notification - Tiered Rate
Enphase Enlighten Reporting
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