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PG&E charges double for energy put onto grid as a penalty without PTO

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,132
5,930
Merced, CA
Got my first bill for the first full month with my solar + PWs WITHOUT PTO. I sent, unintended, $0.81 to the grid. This was treated as a charge * 2 so instead of my bill being $115.14 - $0.81 it was $115.14 + $0.81 x 2.

So energy put back on the grid was not just treated as a charge but charged DOUBLE as a penalty.


Just FYI for anyone who was wondering.
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.18.2
Mar 8, 2015
9,835
9,204
Colorado
Did they have to upgrade your meter to the smart meter?
That's what I was thinking. If a two-way smart meter wasn't installed then it can't tell if the energy came from the grid or solar. The meter probably just registered the energy and charged, assuming it was from the grid.

Then again, if the $0.81 is showing as production, I guess it would be a smart meter.

We didn't have any meter installed for nearly two months while waiting for PTO so fortunately we didn't run into this problem.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,164
3,215
Northern California
Got my first bill for the first full month with my solar + PWs WITHOUT PTO. I sent, unintended, $0.81 to the grid. This was treated as a charge * 2 so instead of my bill being $115.14 - $0.81 it was $115.14 + $0.81 x 2.

So energy put back on the grid was not just treated as a charge but charged DOUBLE as a penalty.


Just FYI for anyone who was wondering.

I would first ensure you have a Smart Meter, and second wait until next month's bill and see if you get a large credit. We never had an additional charge when we accidentally pushed power to the grid without PTO. However, a month after getting PTO with got a large ($300+) credit for the power pushed.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,132
5,930
Merced, CA
It's already a smart meter. PG&Es spreadsheet for my usage shows $114.33 in charges. There's $115.14 of energy used and $0.81 credits in the spreadsheet but the actual charge is $116.76 which is exactly double the credits making the difference exactly triple the $0.81.

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 8.12.47 AM.png


If it wasn't a smart meter, then I'd only be charge 1:1 for energy put back on the grid, not double.
 
Last edited:

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,311
428
95762
I operated my Solar for a week or so before PTO and then when I added PWs, I operated them over 2 months before PTO
There was no penalties involved. I did not know the solar was on, but the installers left it in on position. When I got PTO, I went to turn it on and it was already on. For PWs, the installer (different company) said that already having PTO for solar would be OK to operate the PWs. I didn't argue
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,132
5,930
Merced, CA
Just got off the phone with PG&E. I called to disconnect service on my well meter which is no longer hooked up and I don't want to pay the $10.84 every month for an unused meter. I asked the rep about this since I already had them on the phone. He told me what I'm seeing on my bill is to be expected until I'm granted PTO and that I should attempt to limit as much as possible using the system until I get permission.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,311
428
95762
Just got off the phone with PG&E. I called to disconnect service on my well meter which is no longer hooked up and I don't want to pay the $10.84 every month for an unused meter. I asked the rep about this since I already had them on the phone. He told me what I'm seeing on my bill is to be expected until I'm granted PTO and that I should attempt to limit as much as possible using the system until I get permission.

Odd. When my PWs were installed, they had my billing completely wrong. I had zero credit to the grid. I talked to 2 Reps and both said my billing was correct. Finally escalated to Manager and it was fixed after 3 months of wrong billing. They went back and credited my previous bills
 

AD3T

Member
Sep 30, 2020
16
10
Las Vegas, NV
I talked to the utility inspector here in Vegas when he came to "inspect" (really was majority just to swap meters) -- he said it's pretty common that people here will turn their system on before they get PTO.

He said the main problem with that is that the standard meter's tracking device only measures total "power movement" and does not discern direction/flow -- so you end up getting billed for usage on any energy that you're exporting -- the meter just doesn't know the difference. As long as you don't export, then it's not a big deal; meaning you need to keep it to net zero OR disconnect from the grid, until you have a meter that can make the directional distinction, between incoming-vs-outgoing energy.

I'm simply relaying what the inspector told me here in Vegas, though I don't think he had any reason to lie -- he was actually a super nice guy and extremely friendly, answered a bunch of my random questions about the process & it's timing (he was doing >20 meter swaps a day, every day; all the 'lag' is from the paper-pushers, it sounds like). YMMV, just relaying what I was told. :)
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,132
5,930
Merced, CA
In the case when you don't have a smart meter, the meter has no way of knowing which direction the power is flowing so you get billed for it the same as if you used it. In my case, I have a smart meter and I can see how much power I've put back on the grid.

My next door neighbor got solar last year and the installer left it on. He already had a smart meter like me and was surprised with a massive $2000 bill the next month. PG&E did not fix it but since he was leasing his solar, the company he's leasing from ate the bill and paid the entire thing.
 

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
6,860
SF Bay
In the case when you don't have a smart meter, the meter has no way of knowing which direction the power is flowing so you get billed for it the same as if you used it. In my case, I have a smart meter and I can see how much power I've put back on the grid.

My next door neighbor got solar last year and the installer left it on. He already had a smart meter like me and was surprised with a massive $2000 bill the next month. PG&E did not fix it but since he was leasing his solar, the company he's leasing from ate the bill and paid the entire thing.

:eek:
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,311
428
95762
In the case when you don't have a smart meter, the meter has no way of knowing which direction the power is flowing so you get billed for it the same as if you used it. In my case, I have a smart meter and I can see how much power I've put back on the grid.

My next door neighbor got solar last year and the installer left it on. He already had a smart meter like me and was surprised with a massive $2000 bill the next month. PG&E did not fix it but since he was leasing his solar, the company he's leasing from ate the bill and paid the entire thing.

That has to be wrong. As I stated before, PG&E had my billing wrong for 3 months after PW install.
 

AD3T

Member
Sep 30, 2020
16
10
Las Vegas, NV
If you didn't have PTO and your meter wasn't able to actually measure import-vs-export, then it's hard to fault the utility IMO.

I was annoyed at the timeliness of getting PTO, but I also understand that they need to be able to both have some mechanism to ensure worker safety & have the ability to meter accurately [differentiate import-vs-export], somewhat obviously IMO...
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,311
428
95762
If you didn't have PTO and your meter wasn't able to actually measure import-vs-export, then it's hard to fault the utility IMO.

I was annoyed at the timeliness of getting PTO, but I also understand that they need to be able to both have some mechanism to ensure worker safety & have the ability to meter accurately [differentiate import-vs-export], somewhat obviously IMO...

PG&E swapped out old meters for Smart Meters years ago. I believe they did every customer, but might be wrong.
 

AD3T

Member
Sep 30, 2020
16
10
Las Vegas, NV
FWIW, here in Vegas we have smart meters with high-resolution accuracy as well -- but they still have to put a different smart meter in to measure export-vs-import.
 

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