Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is introducing a new electric time-of-use rate plan to promote more efficient energy usage and provide customers with additional rate plan options. Starting in April 2018, approximately 150,000 residential electric customers across PG&E’s service area will transition into the new rate plan, unless they choose another rate plan. This is the first phase of a multi-year, statewide effort to create a smarter energy future and healthier environment while balancing the need to keep customer rates affordable.
Time-of-Use rate plans support a cleaner and more reliable energy grid by encouraging customers to shift electricity usage to the times of day when demand is lower (“off-peak”) and renewable resources, like solar power, are more plentiful, according to PG&E. Most Californians are currently on a tiered rate plan where the price of electricity increases as more energy is used. On a Time-of-Use rate plan, when customers use electricity is as important as how much they use. By shifting some usage, such as running the dishwasher or doing laundry during off-peak hours, customers will benefit from lower pricing and help increase our state’s reliance on clean energy.
Customers transitioning to the new Time-of-Use rate plan will be notified by mail, and will be provided with additional information and tools. The majority of customers on the new plan will either see smaller bills or a small annual bill increase, assuming no change in energy usage.
PG&E will offer bill protection for the first 12 months to allow customers to try the new Time-of-Use plan risk-free. During that period, if customers pay more than they would have on their former rate plan, PG&E will credit them with the difference.
“PG&E is committed to working together with our customers to ensure they understand how small shifts in when they use energy can make a big difference for the environment,” said Laurie Giammona, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “We recognize that customers use energy differently and will provide information and tools to give customers greater control over how they use energy and help them choose the rate plan that best meets their needs.”
The new Time-of-Use plan offers lower priced energy 19 hours each day, while charging higher rates between the peak hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. While customers who take no action will transition into the new Time-of-Use plan in April, they will have the option of keeping their current plan or choosing an alternate rate plan.
To ensure that customers included in this first phase understand the new Time-of-Use rate plan and their options, PG&E will provide:
- Notifications regarding the new rate plan and other options available, starting in early January.
- Personalized rate comparisons for customers to compare available rates and choose a plan.
- Bill protection for the first 12 months to allow customers to try the new Time-of-Use plan risk-free.
- Tools and programs such as Budget Billing and Energy Alerts, as well as seasonal communications and tips, to help customers manage energy use and stay on budget.
- Dedicated rate specialists at 1-866-743-7945 to answer questions and help customers choose a rate plan.
PG&E is working with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other energy companies on this statewide effort. Customers for the first phase were randomly selected from across the service area to represent diversity in climate, household size and energy usage, among other factors. PG&E will work with and learn from this group of customers to help inform and plan for the full rollout of the new Time-of-Use rate plan to all other eligible residential customers, starting either in late 2019 or late 2020, pending a decision by the CPUC.