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What are PG&E's residential time of use plans?

As a residential customer you have two choices of residential time of use rate plans, ETOU-A and ETOU-B.

What is common to both residential time of use plans, and also to commercial time of use plans, is that they have hours of the day that are considered peak and hours of the day that are considered off peak.

There are two differences between the two residential time of use plans offered by PG&E:

  • ETOU-A has a baseline allowance of kWh's per month for which you get a credit of $0.0883 per kWh off the advertised rate. ETOU-B does not have a baseline allowance but it has lower rates for all kWh's.
  • There is a slight difference in the hours that are considered peak and off peak for each plan. With ETOU-A the peak period starts at 3pm and runs to 8 pm weekdays, and with ETOU-B peak starts at 4pm and runs to 9 pm weekdays. On both plans all other hours are considered off peak.

Image source: www.pge.com

Which PG&E residential time of use rate plan works out cheaper over all?

ETOU-A will be a cheaper rate plan for those who use smaller amounts of energy. However, as energy usage increases above your baseline allowance then the gap between the plans reduces.

The point at which ETOU-B becomes the cheapest rate plan will vary depending on what percentage of your power you use in peak times and what percentage of your overall power you use at off peak times.

For an average consumer with a typical mix of peak and off peak usage this will be when you are using about 1.6 to 2 times your baseline allowance.

A tiered rate plan is a plan where the amount you pay per kWh for electricity increases as the quantity of electricity you use increases. Generally there is an allowance of kWh's (kilowatt hours) per month at a cheaper rate and then use above this allowance is charged at a higher rate.

However, tiered rate plans are being phased out in the investor owned utilities in California and by 2019 both business and residential customers will have to be on a time of use rate plan. As such, any forward looking estimates of savings are best done looking at the available time of use rate plans.

A time of use electric rate plan is an electricity plan where the amount you are charged per kilowatt hour (kWh) for power is determined by the time of day that you use it.

They typically have peak times of the day with higher rates and an off peak with lower rates.

PG&E rate plans

Plan Name: Residential (E-1)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: MinimumEnergy Charge: $9.99
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.212
Tier2: $0.28
Tier3: $0.434
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 307 kWh
Tier2: Next 921 kWh
Tier3: Above 1,228 kWh
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.212
Tier2: $0.28
Tier3: $0.434
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 331 kWh
Tier2: Next 994 kWh
Tier3: Above 1,325 kWh
Plan Name: Residential - Time of Use - Rate A (E-TOU-A)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: MinimumEnergy Charge: $9.99
Summer (June 1 to September 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.239
Peak: $0.314
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Winter (October 1 to May 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.182
Peak: $0.196
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Summer (June 1 to September 30)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: 00
Tier2: $0.086
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 319 kWh
Tier2: Above 319 kWh
Winter (October 1 to May 31)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: 00
Tier2: $0.086
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 322 kWh
Tier2: Above 322 kWh

How do I know what my Baseline allowance is?

The Public Utilities Commission has set a regime that the baseline allowance should be between 60-70% of the usage of the average consumer in each climatic area within the PG&E territory.

For this reason the PG&E territory is divided into zones.

Image source: www.pge.com

 

Zone Summer
kWh/mth
Winter
kWh/mth
P 459 368
Q 210 368
R 545 344
S 474 347
T 217 243
V 266 320
W 595 322
X 322 323
Y 326 360
Z 190 254

How do I work out if I am on the cheapest PG&E rate plan for my usage pattern?

To work out the exact amount you can save each month by swapping from one rate plan to another (if any) you need to have data about your usage in both peak and off peak periods.

To do this you need to get hold of your electrical usage data for the last 12 months in one hour (or even shorter) intervals. This is known as "interval data" or sometimes also known as "green button data".

 

Interval Data
Green Button data

How do I get my interval data for the last 12 months?

This data is available from PG&E. You can ring them and they are required by law to send it to you, but you will probably be on hold for a long time and it may take several days or weeks to arrive. There is also a website called UtilityAPI.com that allows you to get this data for $15 (they have an electronic interface to PG&E).

However, if you own your home and it is a single family dwelling, then a really good way to get this data for free is to request solar quotes from local solar companies.

In general solar offers much bigger savings than simply swapping plans anyway, and a solar designer will usually need to get this same interval data to work out what size solar system would cover your bill and to forecast savings accurately for you.

Solar companies will generally retrieve and analyze your interval electricity usage data for free in the hope of winning your solar business.

How much can I save per month by swapping to the cheapest plan for my usage?

For most people the amount you can save by swapping plans is minimal because the electric plans are approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and plans are designed to work out roughly the same in terms of total costs for consumers with average consumption patterns.

In the typical case potential savings will be between $0 - $10 per month, but could be much larger for high energy users or for homes and businesses with non-typical usage patterns.

This is why most people who own their own homes are now looking at solar as the best method to reduce their power bill.

Even moderate electricity consumers with a monthly PG&E bill of only $150 ( with suitable homes) can save $50 or more a month by going solar and in many cases they can almost eliminate their power bill after the 6-8 year payback period.

Find out how to reduce your PG&E electricity bill.