Electricity Use

How Are We Doing?

Electricity use received a thumbs-up because average annual residential electricity use per home in San Diego County decreased by about 2% from 2017 to 2018, from 5,599 kWh in 2017 to 5,493 KWh in 2018. Local consumption was comparable to other major urban coastal counties in California although San Francisco had the lowest average residential electricity use at 3,792 kWh in 2018. Want to know more about what we're measuring?

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Improved more than 1 percent from 2017 to 2018

Data Source: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018 

San Diego County average annual electricity consumption per household decreased from 2017 to 2018. San Francisco was again the lowest but stayed about the same as in 2017, while Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara per household electricity use decreased from 2017 to 2018.

Why is it Important?

High quality of life means a clean environment, a thriving economy, and an equitable place for all to enjoy.

  • The average San Diego County household not only conserved electricity but also decreased greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use by an estimated 69 pounds in 2018, equivalent to each household switching 1 incandescent bulb to an LED. The decrease in GHG emissions is due to the increasing content of renewables in the electricity grid, as mandated by the state.
  • Due partly to energy efficiency measures, California residents spend, on average, 30% less on residential energy bills compared to other states, even though it has one of the top 10 highest residential electricity rates in the country.

Data Sources: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018

San Diego County residential electricity usage follows a trend similar to other major urban areas in California, spiking during late summer and early fall with a smaller peak in December and January. Among the counties selected for comparison, Fresno experiences the most dramatic increase each summer.

Data Sources: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018

Among the major investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in California, San Diego Gas & Electric (serving 1.4 million business and residential accounts in San Diego and southern Orange counties) averages less electricity use per household annually than Southern California Edison (serving 5 million accounts in central, coastal and Southern California) and Pacific Gas and Electric (serving 16 million accounts in central and Northern California).

Data Source: San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Western Regional Climate Center

San Diego County residential electricity usage spikes during late summer and early fall with a smaller peak in December and January.

Regional Response

Policies

Several jurisdictions in the San Diego region have recently begun evaluating or developing community choice aggregation (CCA) programs. Unlike the traditional utility model, in which utilities generate, transmit, and distribute energy, CCAs give cities more control in determining how and where their electricity is generated. In addition, CCAs give consumers the option to choose electricity plans that make greater use of renewable resources.

The City of Solana Beach already has a CCA program in place since Summer 2018, the first in the San Diego County, called Solana Energy Alliance. Solana Energy Alliance offers electricity at rates lower than SDG&E's with higher renewable and greenhouse gas-free sources. In February of 2019, the City of San Diego voted to move forward with the development of a CCA program. This program may include other jurisdictions as part of a joint powers authority (JPA). The next vote, to determine whether or not a JPA is approved, is expected to be held in the third quarter of 2019. The County of San Diego and the Cities of Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside are also in the process of evaluating the benefits of a CCA program. The cities of Santee, La Mesa, and Chula Vista have recently begun initiating CCA feasibility studies and community outreach.


What Are We Measuring?

We measure residential electricity consumption by tracking average annual electricity use per household in San Diego County. We compare that regional consumption to other California counties on an annual and monthly basis and also compare residential usage between the major investor-owned utilities in California. Greenhouse gas emissions are estimated using the Energy Policy Initiative Center SDG&E Service Territory Emissions Factor and are reported in pounds of CO2 equivalent. Emission equivalency derived from the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Learn more about the data.