SMUD Peak Hours and TOD Rates: How Solar Can Save You Money

Control SMUD TOU Rates with Solar and Battery Storage

Aside from giving you access to clean, reliable energy during a power outage, adding a battery to your home solar system can also help you save money by using your stored energy when electric rates are higher. Like in the summer afternoons, when people are using their air conditioners to keep their homes comfortable, you can rely on the stored energy from your battery to keep your house cool.1

Plus, with a home solar battery system such as Brightbox™, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s TOU rates, you could take your yearly energy savings even further.

If potentially saving thousands of dollars on electric bills during the next 25 years2* piques your curiosity, let’s discuss what TOU rates are, along with the TOU rate plan SMUD is offering to home solar customers.

What Are TOU (Time-of-Use) Rates?

TOU rates, dubbed as “Time-of-Day or TOD rates” by SMUD, are pricing structures set by electric companies that change depending on the time, the day, and the season you consume electricity at home.3

With SMUD's TOD rates, when you use electricity is just as important as how much electricity you consume from the grid. For example, during peak hours (late afternoon to early evening) when most people are at home, electricity rates cost more than during off-peak hours (night to early afternoon) when people are asleep or are at work or school during typical business hours.

TOU or TOD rates are becoming more and more common among electric companies in the U.S., with California leading the way. According to California’s Net Energy Metering (NEM 2.0) policy, any homeowner who installs solar panels in the state has to enroll in TOU/TOD rates instead of paying single per-kilowatt-hour rates.4

Learn the Details of SMUD’s Time-of-Day (TOD) 5-8 P.M. Rate Plan

SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate plan gives you more affordable electricity prices during hours of the day when grid demand is lower — before 5:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and all hours on weekends & holidays.5

If you shift some or most of your electricity usage to these lower-cost, off-peak hours, you will have better control over your electric bill—especially during the summer.

Now, if you are under SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate plan, this doesn’t mean you have to shut down your electricity usage during peak hours. But when you decide to run certain appliances could make a difference. By making small changes to your energy habits, like doing laundry or washing dishes in the morning or at night, you should be able to reduce your monthly electric bill.

SMUD TOD 5-8 pm Schedule*

TOD 5-8 pm Schedule Peak Mid-Peak Off-Peak
June 1 - Sep 30 (Summer) Weekdays 5 pm - 8 pm Weekdays Noon - 5 pm & 8 pm - Midnight Weekdays Midnight - Noon & All Hours on Weekends & Holidays
Oct 1 - May 31 (Winter) Weekdays 5 pm - 8 pm N/A Weekdays 8 pm - 5 pm & All Hours on Weekends & Holidays

*SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate schedules and structures are subject to change in the future.

SMUD Rate Time-of-Day Residential for TOD 5-8 pm Per Season6**

TOD 5-8 pm Per Season Peak Mid-Peak Off-Peak Peak/Off-Peak Spread
Summer June 1 - Sep 30 (Summer) $0.31 $0.18 $0.13 $0.13 - $0.18
Winter Oct 1 - May 31 (Winter) $0.15 N/A $0.11 $0.05

**For the most up-to-date information about SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rates, please click here.

Are Brightbox Customers Eligible for a Different SMUD Rate Plan?

SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate is the standard rate for home customers with a home solar system with a battery who were approved after December 31, 2017. And while home solar battery system customers cannot opt out of it, the good news is, SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate is around 4% lower than the Fixed Rate most SMUD non-solar customers are usually on.

At Sunrun, we analyzed the potential savings of the TOD 5-8 P.M. rate, and we believe it offers the most savings for Brightbox customers. When you submit your interconnection application to SMUD, we’ll automatically enroll you in SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate on your behalf.

What Is Brightbox Smart TOU Allocation?

With a home solar system with a battery, such as Brightbox, your battery will perform Smart TOU Allocation during peak hours in the summer to use your stored energy instead of consuming electricity from the grid, which could help you increase your year-round solar savings.

smud tou solar battery

Why Doesn’t Brightbox Perform Battery Smart TOU Allocation All Year?

Brightbox only performs Smart TOU Allocation during peak hours (5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) in the summer (June 1 to September 30) to give you the most significant energy savings possible while balancing your battery’s degradation.

Similar to devices like your phone, cordless vacuum, or smart wireless speaker, the more you use your home battery unit, the greater wear and tear it will experience, and the faster it will degrade.

Since there’s a minimal price difference between SMUD’s electricity rates in peak and off-peak hours during non-summer months (October 1 to May 31), performing Smart TOU Allocation isn’t as effective because your battery’s degradation cost would be pricier than your energy savings in this season.

Ensure a Better Savings Future with Brightbox Today

Sunrun is the easiest and smartest way to join the clean energy revolution. Whenever you’re ready to talk about solar, our team is here to guide you every step of the way. See if you qualify today!