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Electricity rates on the rise for a majority of Californians

Flickr member oliver.dodd

Electricity rates are going up for a majority of California residents under a new plan approved unanimously Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The structure will shift users from four tiers to just two, and will determine the cost of power based on the time of day it's used. Some high usage customers will see a reduction in their bills, while those who are more energy efficient will get hit with an increase.

"... more than 70 percent of customers will see bill increases of 10 percent or more," said Michael Campbell, Program Manager, Office of Ratepayer Advocates, CPUC.

Steve Conroy is a spokesperson for Southern California Edison, which serves Santa Barbara County. He says those who use more energy have been subsidizing those in the lowest usage tier since 2001.

"I think one of the things that was trying to be established here by the commissioners was a more equitable cost sharing, especially with electric service," said Conroy.

Those who live in warmer inland areas, like Paso Robles, could see savings under the new structure.

The full structure will be phased in by January 1, 2019.

Residential customers will automatically default to the rates based on time of day, but can opt out of that aspect if they wish.