The beginning of 2019 has been saturated with conversations about PG&E. From discussions surrounding the impact of PG&E’s bankruptcy and additional customer surcharges to the changes in how PG&E customers are charged. As a local solar provider, we have fielded many questions from customers looking for clarification. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Changes in PG& E Tiered Plans
Although it seems like this is a new change, the ‘new’ structure took effect in 2015 and will not be completed until 2020. The ideology in changes was that they would make billing simpler and costs that aligned more closely with the actual costs of providing electric service to customers. Additionally, the new billing would provide customers with a clearer understanding of how their energy use impacts monthly billing costs.
That all being said, 2019 is a big year in changes for PG&E customers. Time-of-Use rate plans will be rolled out for most PG&E residential customers. 2015-2018 were years in which a variety of tiered usages were introduced. With each passing year, the tiers were modified to reduce the price difference between tiers. In 2019 and 2020, most residential electric customers are expected to be transitioned to a Time-of-Use schedule where prices for electricity depend on the time of day. This means that customers will no longer be watching which rate plan they are tied to, they will be assessing energy usage based on the time of day they are utilizing electricity from the grid. This breaks down to mean that now customers are charged based on when they use electricity, and not how much electricity they are actually using.
Will Solar Help?
The short answer to this question is, absolutely! With the new Time-of-Use mandates, to save money, you will have to find ways to reduce your electricity consumption. With PG&E Time-of-Use rates, what you are charged daily for electricity is based on it being on a “peak” or an “off-peak” time. This means that “on-peak” costs are higher than “off-peak” costs, from anywhere between 10% and 30%. The utility explains that higher costs at “on-peak” times are because electricity is more expensive during these periods.
When it comes to the benefits of having solar PV panels, is that your new solar panels should be designed to offset your electricity use. Thus, regardless of when you use electricity, your solar panels are producing the energy that you are consuming in your home to run your AC, dishwasher, or washing machine and dryer. With the addition of a solar battery storage system, your ability to store even more energy onsite is even more powerful. This means during peak hours, if you use more energy than your panels supplied, you can pull from your battery – saving you even more money.
Solar Tax Incentives
Time truly is of the essence when it comes to exploring solar panel options for your home. The transition to TOU pricing for PG&E customers has already taken place. Most people have probably seen increases in their bill. To begin saving money immediately and become independent from the fluctuating costs of purchasing your electricity from the utility company, meet with one of energy advisers. Today is always the perfect day to learn how to save money.
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