An administrative law judge Oct. 30 proposed approving time-of-day rates for San Diego Gas & Electric beginning Nov. 1, 2013. The rates would be mandatory for small commercial customers and voluntary for residential customers. \u201cCommission policy favors making dynamic rates available to all classes of electricity customers,\u201d wrote California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge Jessica Hecht in her decision. Hecht outlined a structure for the \u201cdynamic\u201d time-of-day rates, but the specific costs per kWh at different times of the day are to be decided in the utility\u2019s general rate case. The proposed structure would allow rates to vary at different times of the day, such as morning, afternoon when power demand usually peaks in summer, and night. \u201cTime-of-day rates,\u201d wrote Hecht, \u201care electric rates under which the amount customers pay for each unit of electricity varies over the course of a day.\u201d Hecht\u2019s proposed structure also would make available \u201ccritical peak pricing\u201d rates, in which the charge for power would be higher on days when the grid is particularly strained. In its general rate case, the utility has proposed tacking on a charge of 20 cents\/kWh on peak pricing days, which would be limited to no more than 18 days a year between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. For small commercial customers critical peak pricing would be rolled out on a voluntary basis in 2013 as an alternative to time-of-day rates. Then in 2015, critical peak pricing would become the default rate for such customers unless they opted to stick with time-of-day rates. The critical peak price add-on for residential customers would be 91 cents\/kWh, but it would remain voluntary for residential customers on an ongoing basis, as would time-of-day rates SDG&E would get a budget of $92.7 million to implement the rates--trimmed from the initially requested $118 million. It would recover the money from its customers. The utility would use a portion of the money to educate customers about the new dynamic rates, including through shadow billing that would show the difference between the charges under the new versus old rate structure. SDG&E also would have to file reports with the commission on expenditures to implement the new rates and explain how they are working. The proposed decision is not expected to come before the commission for a vote until December at the earliest.