Southern California Edison plans to postpone a 6 percent rate hike for two months to make it easier for its customers to pay high bills stemming from the July heat storm. The California Public Utilities Commission must approve the request, which would push the rate increase forward to January 1 from November 1. “We have been very concerned about the impact of this summer’s heat and high electricity usage on customer bills,” said Lynda Ziegler, Edison vice-president of customer service. Edison said the delay is possible because of both lower than forecast fuel costs and higher than expected revenue stemming from extra electricity sales during the hot period. It will save mid-use households about $60, Edison said. In addition, the company is asking the CPUC to approve spending 8 percent – or $10 million – of the extra sales proceeds from the heat wave on low-income customer assistance. Households with incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for one-time bill relief of up to $150 under the plan. Last week, the CPUC approved a rate relief package for Pacific Gas & Electric customers related to the heat storm. Customers will enjoy a bill credit next month, and the utility will boost assistance to low-income customers, too (Circuit, Sept. 8, 2006).