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Is solar the best option to reduce your LADWP electricity bill?
What makes CutMyBill better than other solar cost and savings calculators for LADWP customers?
There are three key reasons that our LADWP solar cost and bill savings calculator is far better than any other solar calculator or solar estimate website on the net for LADWP customers;
- Firstly, whilst most solar panels calculators are really good at forecasting the electricity production you can get from installing solar panels for your home (because they all rely on the pwatts.nrel.gov solar production data) most of them just use a single generic state wide unit cost for electricity in their calculations. Our LADWP solar cost and bill savings calculator actually uses our database of each of the available LADWP electric rates plans to use more specific electricity cost data. Therefore we can generate much more accurate solar savings analysis.
- The second reason is that we use DOE (Department of Energy) electricity usage patterns for the LADWP service territory, and some very basic questions we ask you about your home to estimate how you use power over the course of a day and the seasons of the year. This allows us to accurately forecast solar savings where time of use electricity plans are available to you. We estimate your electricity usage for each hour of the year and then overlay the known production of solar panels in your area for each hour of the year. Without this level of detail solar panel cost and savings calculators on are inaccurate; and
- Lastly, before we even consider solar savings, we look for any savings that can be achieved simply by swapping to a cheaper available LADWP rate plan. Our software looks for any available LADWP rates plan that works our cheaper for your estimated usage pattern. Generally speaking savings from swapping to a cheaper LADWP rates plan are only available to those who have larger monthly electric bills but given it only takes a phone call to achieve these savings it is by far the quickest and easiest bill cutting option where it is possible.
Start your savings estimateCalculate
Will installing a solar power system or swapping rate plans save me the most on my monthly LADWP payment?
There are almost always far greater cost savings to be obtained from installing solar panels than swapping rates plans but this doesn't mean possible savings from swapping rate plans should be ignored. The other reason we search for your cheapest rate plan is that to forecast total possible savings you could get on your bill you need to take into account both savings that may be available from swapping to the cheapest rate plan and also savings that come from swapping your generation source for some of your power usage to your own solar power.
Compare savings from swapping rate plans to solar savingsCalculate
How accurate is the CutMyBill estimate of my power usage pattern?
The CutMyBill electricity usage profile estimator is a key part of the technology of why CutMyBill can forecast solar and bill swapping savings so accurately without requiring you to enter your kilowatt hour electricity usage for each month of the year or to upload 12 months worth of power bills.
The way we do this is we use electricity use profiles collected by the Department of Energy for each building type at each weather station across the LADWP service territory. Some of the characteristics of your home such as your average monthly power spend and the square footage of your home are used to refine this analysis.
This gives a fairly accurate estimate but it is not an exact estimate. The best way to get an exact estimate of your solar savings and whether or not there are possible savings from swapping rate plans is to speak to one of your local solar companies. Whilst solar companies are experts in solar they also become experts in knowing the cheapest rate plans (both before and after solar) from their local utility companies.
Estimate my power usage pattern over a day and over the seasons of the yearCalculate
There are three options that you can explore to cut your power bill as a LADWP customer.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: Costs nothing and is easy.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: Savings may be quite small but given it costs nothing and only takes an email to LADWP, why not!
Reducing electricity use through energy efficiency measures.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: May be a smaller project and less costly process than solar.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: It may be hard to borrow money to do energy efficiency upgrades as you can for installing solar panels. It may involve retiring equipment before the end of its useful life. Is also usually takes some investment in expert analysis before the level of savings can be determined.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: In the LADWP territory it is often possible to save $50,000 or more by installing solar panels and get a payback in 5-7 years on a product that will keep saving you money for 25 years. There are now also competitive financing options that mean most homeowners can get solar panels on a zero down loan.
Pro's of swapping rate plans: Installing solar panels is a fairly big project and requires you to have the unshaded roof space available to do it. (Our calculator shows you how much roof space you need). This bill savings option is usually not available to renters or people living in multi-family buildings.
Can I get a lower power bill by swapping to a different LADWP rate plan?
LADWP have two different rate plans available for residential customers being the Tiered R-1A rate plan and the Time of Use R-1B rate plan.
It is difficult to determine whether or not you can save money by swapping from one rate plan to another without doing a detailed analysis of your usage patterns in terms of how much power you use and when you use it.
Our website provides a comparison of the LADWP Time of Use plan to the Tiered rate plan most LADWP customers are on. But the thing to remember is that when these plans are designed they are designed to offer a similar overall cost to the average consumer with average usage patterns.
What this means is that if your power bill is in the range of $80 to $120 then it is likely that both residential options will work out about the same.
Once your usage gets above about 1300 kWh per month then you start to have the potential for savings by swapping plans but only if you can use a limited amount of power between the 1 PM and 5 PM peak period.
You will find this a common theme on this website that there is little that can be done to reduce electricity costs if your electric bill is small but as usage and cost increases savings can become significant.
Even for larger users the amount that you can save by installing solar panels will be much more than what you can save by swapping rate plans. However, swapping rate plans is so easy that it is worth doing even if the savings are small.
How much can I lower my power bill through adopting energy efficiency measures?
As with swapping rate plans the amount you can save by adopting energy efficiency measures will vary greatly with the amount of energy you currently use. The bigger your current energy use the greater the scope for savings.
When I consider energy efficiency measures i like to break them up into:
- Energy efficiency measures that affect lifestyle; and
- Energy efficiency measures that don't affect lifestyle
What are energy efficiency measures that affect your lifestyle?
Obviously we can all make a conscious decision to use less energy but many of these measures will have a materially negative effect on your quality of life. We can sit in a hot living room in summer rather than turning on the air conditioner, we can hang our clothes outside to dry rather than using a clothes dryer.
However, with most energy bill analysis it is only possible to do a sensible estimate of possible savings from energy efficiency if we assume a constant level of lifestyle. But it is worth remembering that if you can use less energy by changing habits this does offer the potential for significant savings.
How to calculate savings from energy efficiency measures?
The Department of Energy has developed a series of energy efficiency savings calculators that allow you to calculate the amount of money you could save broken down into the major categories of appliances that use power such as:
- Clothes washing and drying
- Food preparation and dish washing
The Department of Energy publishes calculators can be used to calculate savings that can be achieved by using these devices less frequently (lifestyle changes) and also savings that can be achieved by using more efficient versions of each of these appliances.
What incentives are available from LADWP for energy efficiency?
LADWP offers rebates for specific energy efficiency measures.
The first step to finding out about these incentives is to visit the LADWP energy savings page. Rebate paperwork will usually be handled by retailers of the relevant appliances.
How much can you save by swapping your LADWP rate planCalculate
What other government incentives are available to LADWP Customers for energy efficiency?
There are some rebates and tax credits available from the Department of Energy for on energy efficient appliances and renovations.
Installing solar panels as a LADWP Customer
A constant theme on this website is that if you have a suitable house installing solar panels on it is usually the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your long term power costs.
There is also, still at the time of writing, December 2017, a upfront rebate that is no longer offered by the investor owned utilities.
Even with the lower cost power offered by LADWP compared to investor owned utilities those that install solar panels can usually get an 6-8 year payback which means after this time you get to live without a power bill for at least 17 years.
Even over the payback period they have only spent what you would have paid to LADWP for power anyway and so you are not even worse off during the payback period.
Calculate your likely cost, savings and payback period from installing solar panels given your usageCalculate
What are the limitations of solar when it comes to reducing your LADWP electric bill?
The most obvious downside of solar is perhaps that it is generally not available to renters and it is generally not available to those living in multi-family buildings.
This article explores the issues that are involved and the process of installing solar panels for your home as an LADWP customer. It also outlines the net metering offered by LADWP
Of course, the other limitation of solar is that the sun only shines during the day and so it is not on its own a permanent energy source. This is partly the reason why there is now so much interest in battery storage. Energy storage is needed to make intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind usable at times when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.This article explores the pros and cons of solar energy generally.