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Electricity too expensive with PGE for EVs

Hoopoe

Member
May 6, 2019
17
3
California
I'm about to purchase a Model 3 this next month after my lease expires but have hit a roadblock with some research into the electric rate plans offered by PG&E in California. We live in a rural area with most of our heating etc on electric so have a high overall consumption but also a fairly large solar array. Using the rate calculator it estimates that our current bill would be about $645 for the year under the E-TOU-A standard time of use plan after accounting for the solar net metering.

However, switching over to an EV charging plan EV2-A appears to decrease the amount of time that solar production is being credited to the account at higher tier levels, leading to a bill increase to $1255 per year assuming unchanged consumption patterns.

So here's where it gets bad. I will need to drive a lot, and using the PG&E rate simulator and adding in some moderate cost shifting (ie trying to do more laundry off peak etc) as well as the 20k miles of driving a year that would need home charging the cheapest plan goes to E-TOU-B at $2175 per year, and the EV2-A is up to $2,565 per year. That's $1920 extra in electricity per year at a minimum if I were to get a Tesla, or $160 per month. That's about the same that I spend on gas right now.

Is there something I'm missing? Where are these cost savings that I was hoping to see with a Tesla, or do they now go away with the forced change to the EV2-A rate plan as of July 1?
 

NoMoGas

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
I'm about to purchase a Model 3 this next month after my lease expires but have hit a roadblock with some research into the electric rate plans offered by PG&E in California. We live in a rural area with most of our heating etc on electric so have a high overall consumption but also a fairly large solar array. Using the rate calculator it estimates that our current bill would be about $645 for the year under the E-TOU-A standard time of use plan after accounting for the solar net metering.

However, switching over to an EV charging plan EV2-A appears to decrease the amount of time that solar production is being credited to the account at higher tier levels, leading to a bill increase to $1255 per year assuming unchanged consumption patterns.

So here's where it gets bad. I will need to drive a lot, and using the PG&E rate simulator and adding in some moderate cost shifting (ie trying to do more laundry off peak etc) as well as the 20k miles of driving a year that would need home charging the cheapest plan goes to E-TOU-B at $2175 per year, and the EV2-A is up to $2,565 per year. That's $1920 extra in electricity per year at a minimum if I were to get a Tesla, or $160 per month. That's about the same that I spend on gas right now.

Is there something I'm missing? Where are these cost savings that I was hoping to see with a Tesla, or do they now go away with the forced change to the EV2-A rate plan as of July 1?

Well, you have to include the zero maintenance and convenience of filling up at home but for the rates... that does seem off.
 

Hoopoe

Member
May 6, 2019
17
3
California
It’s still a wash in terms of total gas vs electric cost so the fun factor of the Tesla still wins the day. But I’m worried that the change to EV rate plan moves the low cost charging from 12am to 3pm which is easy to charge but then you get credits from solar at the low rate during that time which is the majority of daylight hours.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,554
6,364
Los Altos, CA
There's no way around it - EV2-A really screws solar customers. The one thing I might suggest is a second meter so that you can use EV-B for car charging and leave the solar as it is. That should get you $0.14/kWh power for charging overnight without messing up your household electric bill. That should come to about $75/mo for 20,000 miles per year.
 

NoMoGas

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
There's no way around it - EV2-A really screws solar customers. The one thing I might suggest is a second meter so that you can use EV-B for car charging and leave the solar as it is. That should get you $0.14/kWh power for charging overnight without messing up your household electric bill. That should come to about $75/mo for 20,000 miles per year.
I agree here that's a great idea... a second meter for the EV.
 

Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,574
1,719
Northern california
You have a special case, as your base $645 annual energy cost is extremely low, while the plan they are offering you is higher. That has nothing to do with EV costs, it's an artifact of the current PGE pricing tiers.

Even with high city energy costs, driving my Tesla M3 costs about half the cost per mile of my wife's (economical) 4 cylinder Honda, at current gas prices. And that's not including maintenance, or rising petroleum costs.

If you have a large solar array, talk to PGE in person and see if they can help you figure it out. The second meter option is worth considering.
 
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Dan203

Active Member
Jul 10, 2019
1,420
1,022
Northern Nevada
Stick to the plan you have, charge whenever the rate is cheapest. If you install a wall charger it only takes about 7 hours to charge from 0-100%. You're rarely going to do that, so in reality it'll take 5-6 hours a day to recharge. So if the overnight rate is cheapest, which it usually is with a TOU plan, then you can tell the car to only charge from 11pm-6am and get the lowest rate possible.

Even with a relatively high rate, like say $0.25/kwh, you'd still only spend about $1,250/year for electricity. At $3.50/gallon for gas you'd need a car that got over 55mpg to break even. And that’s not even counting maintenance costs.
 

LuPapa

Member
Oct 20, 2016
77
27
Houston
Keep your current plan. Never charge your car between 3-8pm.

What is your cost for power from 1-4am? That’s when the grid is least stressed and you should’ve charging at the lowest rates in most TOU plans. (Generalizing)
 
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David_Cary

Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
1,243
865
Cary, NC
I don't pretend to understand all PGE rate structures.
But there comes a time when there is so much solar that you will get paid less for daytime generation. While CA might not be quite there, PGE is trying to get ahead of that curve.
From other parts of the country, we have to laugh at the "screwing solar customer" comments. CA has had the most generous rate structures for solar power and as such have the highest rates of solar insolation. When these start coming down to something reasonable, the screaming begins. It is human nature - I get it.
Here in NC, we have the 3rd highest rate of solar insolation. We never get anything more than a credit of 1 kwh generated against 1 kwh used. Zeroed out at the end of May so we never receive cash. I can generate 1000 kwh at peak, use 500 at peak and 500 off peak and I zero out.
Our off peak in the winter includes 1-4 pm because of so much west facing solar arrays and less need for space heating in a winter afternoon (even those most have gas anyway). It has been that way for years - like 10. So the fresh complaining that midday is not peak anymore makes me chuckle.
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,693
2,763
SF Bay Area, CA
Keep your current plan. Never charge your car between 3-8pm.

What is your cost for power from 1-4am? That’s when the grid is least stressed and you should’ve charging at the lowest rates in most TOU plans. (Generalizing)
If you want an idea of how byzantine PG&E's plans and how pricey they are, here they are from Tariffs.

I can't speak to the solar element, which adds to the complications.

E-TOU-A https://www.pge.com/tariffs/assets/pdf/tariffbook/ELEC_SCHEDS_E-TOU.pdf - see pages 2 and 5. We don't know what territory OP is in so the baseline will be different depending on the area as well as summer vs. winter and whether there's nat gas vs. electric permanent heating.
E-TOU-B same file but look at pages 4 and 6
EV2-A is at https://www.pge.com/tariffs/assets/pdf/tariffbook/ELEC_SCHEDS_EV2 (Sch).pdf. See pages 2 and 3.

I bet your electricity in TX is WAY cheap compared to Pacific Gouge & Extort.

I'm lucky that I've free EV juice at work I almost never charge my EVs at home.
Even with a relatively high rate, like say $0.25/kwh, you'd still only spend about $1,250/year for electricity
If you look at pages 2 and 3 of https://www.pge.com/tariffs/assets/pdf/tariffbook/ELEC_SCHEDS_EV2 (Sch).pdf, EV2-A between 3 pm and 12 am is between 33 and 47.4 cents/kWh. Only between midnight and 3 pm is it cheap at 16.2 cents/kWh.
 
Last edited:

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,560
16,586
New Mexico
On average, it will take 75 minutes of 240 V, 48 Amp charging a day to move a Model 3 LR 20k miles a year.

PG&E is clearly devaluing net metered PV so the rational response for OP is to use it himself. Possibilities:

1. Time shift
2. Battery

He might also be able to conserve energy in other areas to make it available for EV use. That resistive heating use sounds like a good target for heat pumps.
 

Msjulie

Active Member
Jun 26, 2016
2,448
1,809
Monterey Peninsula
We found that having solar reduced our costs a lot but to change to EV plan did the opposite. Cars get charged to take advantage of time-of-use policy rate, ie midnight to 7am or something.
 

St☰v☰

Member
Aug 27, 2019
837
587
Texas
Even with high city energy costs, driving my Tesla M3 costs about half the cost per mile of my wife's (economical) 4 cylinder Honda, at current gas prices. And that's not including maintenance, or rising petroleum costs.

Mine too!

Also, take into consideration the initial rebates, SCE and California totaled $3,500 (finally got both checks this past week. This will pretty much defray any 1st year expenses.
 

cassiopeia

Member
Jul 4, 2019
22
20
San Francisco Bay Area
I’m in a similar boat. I have solar, but not enough to cover charging cars. I’m on a E-TOU-A plan that still charges over 30 cents per Wh over night. Like you I was shocked to see how the EV2-A would actually penalize us for having solar. EV-B seems like the way to go. It means installing a separate meter just for charging. It is depressing because it means you can’t charge you car from solar, and I really want to drive on sunshine. Our conclusion was that unless we figure out a way to fit a ton more panels on our roof (physically impossible for us) and get a few power walls, EV-B is the only choice.
Good luck. Let us know what you end up doing.
 

Telstar

Member
Feb 28, 2019
72
78
Bakersfield Ca.
I looked at the EV2 charging plan from PG&E also. Just didn't pencil out for me. I have my car set to charge when power is cheapest in the middle of the night and it works out great. Also, I got my $800 PG&E rebate which helps.
 

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