What you should know about the PG&E Rate Changes.
You may have already heard, PG&E is changing their rates again. In the beginning of the year, PG&E raised their rates roughly 7%. In addition to this rate increase, they have decided to eliminate a couple of their rate schedules.
A rate schedule is the way they charge you for your electrical usage. Most rate schedules are based on tiers (pools or buckets) of energy. At the moment, depending on the rate schedule you are on; there are up to five tiers of charges. The first tier is the basic amount allotted per household. The first tier will be the cheapest rates of both charges and credits available. For some this is a very small tier to work with. Therefore, it is necessary to utilize the second, third, fourth or even the fifth tier; which is also an allotment of energy that go up in price with each tier or pool used.
At the moment there are up to five tiers; but that will soon go away. PG&E is not only eliminating a couple of the tiers, but is also eliminating three of the most popular rate schedules available for residential customers. PG&E cites the reason for the tiers and their changes to the rate schedules, energy conservation incentives. This could cause your PG&E bill to rise dramatically. PG&E is eliminating Rate Schedule E7, E8 and discontinuing the availability of E6. There will be some automatic transfers done by PG&E depending on what rate schedule you are on now.
Here is how it breaks down:
If you are on an E7 rate schedule with a SmartMeter:
- They will transfer your account to Time of Day Rate Plan (ETOU-A). This will cause your peak usage charges to shift from 12-6 pm to 3-8 pm. PG&E is changing the times and charging more due to grid loading.
- If you are a solar customer, this could also adversely affect the credits you will receive. You may not be receiving the maximum value of your solar credits. Your system will not be producing the most amount of energy in the evening, when the maximum credits for this rate schedule would be available.
If you are on an E7 rate schedule without a SmartMeter:
- A meter upgrade may be required to switch to the ETOU rates.
- If you do not have a SmartMeter, you will automatically be transitioned to the E1 Rate Plan, see below for info on E1.
If you are on an E8 rate schedule, you will be automatically switched to
an E1 Rate Plan.
- E1 rate plan is a basic tiered system. It currently has five tiers. However, there have been hints that PG&E will be combining a couple tiers together, resulting in just three tiers.
- E1 is the best option for people who use little to no electricity. If you are a moderate or excessive energy user, you do not want to be on this rate schedule.
If you are on an E6 rate schedule, all customers currently enrolled in
the E6 plan will be able to remain on the rate plan through 2022.
- If you are not currently on an E6 rate, PG&E is closing this option to all new customers as of March 1, 2016. The last day to switch your rate plan to E6 is on February 29, 2016.
- E6 rate schedule is based on tiers, by time of day and time of year for rate charges.
E6 still works on a tiered rate schedule based on time of use. There are
three time periods for usage: Peak, Part Peak and Off Peak. The table
below will break out the tiered costs by time of day demand.
Summertime rates are from May-October. There will be three rates of charge
for weekdays and two for weekends.
- The lowest tiered rate will be from 9 pm – 10 am weekdays and most of the day and night on weekends. This will be the cheapest cost starting at 14.9 cents per kilowatt.
- The second tiered rate will be from 10 am – 1 pm and 7 – 9 pm weekdays. There will also be a weekend charges from 5 – 8 pm. This will be the second cheapest cost starting at 22.6 cents per kilowatt.
The highest rates or peak rates are from 1-7pm and will be starting at
34.1 cents per kilowatt. This means you will be charged the most for your
electricity when you are at work or just getting home from work, excluding
- Fortunately, if you have solar then this also coincides with the best solar production hours, meaning you will get the best credits available for the excess energy you are producing.
Wintertime rates are from November-April. There will only be two rates
- The lower rate will be starting at 15.3 cents per kilowatt hour. These hours will run all day and night with the exception of 5 – 8 pm.
- The higher rate will be starting at 17.0 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate charge will be from 5 – 8 pm weekdays only.
If you are a solar customer E6 or E1 rate schedules would be the best rate
schedules to change to.
It is best to consult with your solar company to see what rate schedule
might work best for you.However, below are a couple of facts that you might be able to quickly
E1 rate schedule might be the best plan for you if:
- If your systems faces due East
- If you only have a system to offset 80% or less of your energy usage
E6 rate schedule might be the best plan for you if:
- If your system faces due West
- If you have a system to offset 80% or more of your energy usage
- E1 rate schedule might be the best plan for you if:
- It is best to consult with your solar company to see what rate schedule might work best for you.However, below are a couple of facts that you might be able to quickly reference.
- Summertime rates are from May-October. There will be three rates of charge for weekdays and two for weekends.