SAN FRANCISCO — A statewide process to change the way Californians are charged for their energy will be implemented March 1. These changes were developed jointly between PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
The March 1 changes for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) rate plans:
- Reducing the number of tiers from three to two tiers, to simplify the rate structure.
- The introduction of a High Usage Surcharge to encourage energy conservation.
- Electric transmission rates will increase on March 1, with residential customers seeing a 2.1 percent increase in this portion of their bills.
The current electric rate structure was established during the 2001 energy crisis. It’s outdated, complex and confusing for customers. For years, in order to encourage energy conservation and efficiency, the costs of PG&E’s service to maintain the energy grid and ensure reliable electricity service were disproportionately placed upon customers who found themselves in the higher tiers — most often impacting those who live in hotter climates.
While conservation and efficiency programs have been and continue to be very successful, the electric rate structure resulted in an imbalance between how customers in the lower and higher tiers pay for what it costs to provide them with service.
After the changes are implemented, customers who need to use more energy may see lower bills, while customers who typically able to use less energy may see higher bills.
These changes are designed to support California’s ambitious clean energy goals to combat climate change. Customers who use more than four times the baseline amount of electricity will receive a High Usage Surcharge. The baseline amount of electricity for each customer depends on their location, the season and their home heating system. The surcharge:
- Only applies to customers on PG&E’s tiered electric rate plans.
- Is intended to encourage energy conservation among customers whose electricity use is significantly higher than typical households.
“We understand that any change to the way our customers are accustomed to being charged for energy may cause some questions. We want all of our customers to know that we’re here to help them understand these changes and manage their energy costs. We offer new rate options as well as free programs and tools to help customers take control of their energy use and make smart choices,” said Deborah Affonsa, vice president, Customer Service, PG&E.
Take Control of Energy Use
The most powerful tool customers have at their disposal to take control of their energy use and manage their bills is their online account. Customers should signup to access cost and usage analysis tools with information down to the day, get personalized information on the right rate plan for themselves and their family, and more. To learn more and how to signup, customers can visit pge.com
Automated PG&E Bill Forecast Alerts help customers manage costs by notifying them via email, text or a phone call when their usage is approaching their personal budget thresholds. Sign up at pge.com/energyalerts.
Customers can also sign up for the High Usage Alert to be notified when they may incur the High Usage Surcharge. Sign up today at pge.com/highusage.
For more information about tools to manage energy costs and programs for low income and medical needs, please visit pge.com.
PG&E is based in San Francisco with more than 20,000 employees, delivers energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.