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PG&E is raising their "revenue" by 12.4%; guess what that means

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,104
1,485
East Bay NorCal
Here's a daily dose of schadenfreude for people who do not live outside of Northern California. But for me it's just more evidence that "PG&E sucks".

PG&E to raise customers’ rates 8% to help pay for wildfire mitigation efforts

TLDR: The California CPUC approved PG&E to "get more money" to offset all the wildfire problems and general costs of doing business. Getting more money means charging higher rates starting March 2021. Total revenue can go up 12.4%; but residential electric energy costs are "only" going up 8%. Residential gas energy is going up 3.5%. Distribution is where things are going up the most... 17.2%.

If you're in NorCal, you have every reason get solar and ESS ASAP. And PG&E has every reason to try and stop you since they need your cash to pay for... stuff.

You can read more here:
https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M250/K270/250270251.PDF

My favorite part of the proposal is that PG&E is going to cut costs with customer service as a means to try and still make their math work. Nice.

upload_2020-12-4_9-31-56.png
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,178
9,905
SF Bay Area
The fact that PG&E has to cover claims as determined by the courts arising from the wildfires caused by their equipment and need to raise rates/fees as a result should be no surprise. They have aging plants and are saddled with energy contracts that as I understand are typically 30-years out. I know that’s a common period in the corporate world for commercial leases and such. Maybe there was a time when the growth in residential and corporate usage over a few decades could be anticipated that far out, but with more high powered electronics, server farms, climate change, etc. the rising demand for energy is outpacing available sources. Energy conservation and moves like to LEDs and higher efficiency products and renewable energy generation help but how much compared to growing demand? Worker wages, taxes, employee health insurance and workers comp no doubt have increased over each decade as well. Bottom line it keeps getting more expensive.

As for customer service from what I’ve observed from seemingly any company out there it has fallen to the wayside and early on the chopping block. Even before covid with WFH, it’s been hard to even speak to someone on the phone or get a prompt reply via email/text. Hate to say it but I don’t see this improving. I feel sorry for people my mom’s age who don’t use a computer and have to sit on the phone hoping to connected to a person.

PG&E’s rate increase request was announced to be happening soon. So now we get the details and amount. Thanks for posting.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,178
9,905
SF Bay Area
Apart from the PSPS and rotating outages we had a few years back I can say I’ve had no real issues with PG&E’s service. When new construction in our area has cut into the lines and knocked us out, they’ve responded in pretty quick order. I use their phone notification for alerts/outages and find it helpful. We live in city so realize those in more rural areas have different experiences. I totally appreciate how their linemen are out in storms working identify and fix downed lines. When re-landscaping we had them out for marking our gas lines and didn’t have a long wait to schedule. This part of customer service I hope we don’t ever see decline.

As for electricity demand going down I’m not so sure. Many cities in the Bay Area have already changed new construction to electric only service as opposed to any gas and that seems to be the trend. Our city made this change and we have a 400-unit apartment complex going in soon. One of many new projects going in. It will also require PV and ability to charge EVs but can’t believe the additional electricity usage by residents will be offset by it solar.
 
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Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,989
1,444
Sonoma, California
This is disgusting, Pacific Graft and Extortion is so poorly run and a monopoly out of control. We knew that they would be charging us for their incompetence and the fact that the CPUC is in bed with them makes it worse. So because they gave their profits to investors and the incompetent management and did not invest in maintaining their infrastructure along came some winds and those improperly maintained poles and lines started fires. I love paying a company for their mistakes. Now I will have to add additional solar!
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,104
1,485
East Bay NorCal
The good news (if you want to call it that) is PG&E cannot use the increased revenue to pay off the legal costs and legacy burden from the pre-bankruptcy cock-ups.

The bad news is I think our slick-haired governor is in on the Grift and waived a lot of the public penalty imposed for the cock-ups. Time to pay more taxes to pay for the government-portion of this PG&E rate increase...
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
416
346
Silicon Valley, CA
Speaking of increasing rates, anyone pay attention to the gas side of the bill? The gas portion of the PG&E Bill may be smaller for many than the electric part, but with solar and a most!y shaded lot, my annual gas bill was around $500 and my annual electricity true-up is around $850, so comparable ballpark.

I noticed that from Nov 2018 to Nov 2020, the gas rate (G-1 for all of us) went from $1.20/therm to $1.30 to $1.60. And as of Dec 1, it went up again to $1.70. That's a crazy 41% increase in two years, at a time when wholesale natural gas is abundant and at depressed low prices.....

It's shifted the balance such that I don't mind my wife supplementing the heat in her North-facing home office with an electric heater, as it's an even cost trade-off vs being pushed into gas tier 2 at $2/therm.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,178
9,905
SF Bay Area
I think the power demand is actually going down

here's an enlightening article

https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-electricity-capacity/

I noticed the LA Times article has a publication date of early February, 2017, so info based on calendar year 2016 likely. 4 years have passed and much has happened on all energy and weather fronts since then. Didn’t finish the article yet but seems solely focused on plant costs and production and so far haven’t seen other company costs addressed.

With Diablo Canyon being shutdown in a few years and all the objections to it due to California using and projected to use more electricity now and in the future and no indication how the power demand will be met in its absence, solar and wind not able to provide during evening hours, I find it hard to believe that California still has an energy glut of power plants.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,398
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95762
I noticed the LA Times article has a publication date of early February, 2017, so info based on calendar year 2016 likely. 4 years have passed and much has happened on all energy and weather fronts since then. Didn’t finish the article yet but seems solely focused on plant costs and production and so far haven’t seen other company costs addressed.

With Diablo Canyon being shutdown in a few years and all the objections to it due to California using and projected to use more electricity now and in the future and no indication how the power demand will be met in its absence, solar and wind not able to provide during evening hours, I find it hard to believe that California still has an energy glut of power plants.

Electricity demand in CA has been going down for over a decade. I think it is similar for US as a whole. EVs may change this trend

California Sales Ban of New Gasoline & Diesel Vehicles Jolts Half-Dead Business Model of Electric Utilities & Power Producers, Including in Other States
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
416
346
Silicon Valley, CA
by my calcs, $1.7/therm is about .15/kWh

1 therm is about 29.3 kwh, so actually more like $0.05/kwh, or $2.0/therm Tier 2 is.$0.07/kwh. Don't get me wrong, that's still 3-4X more cost-efficient than straight up electric resistance heating at ~0.20/kwh on E-TOU-C. However, while the furnace generates 3X the heat for the same cost, that would be spread around the whole house, vs the little electric heater adding only needed supplemental heat in the localized area around her desk (not even her whole home office room). It's probably a wash.

Now I do have a small portable A/C with heat pump mode that would probably be 2-3X as cost-efficient as her space heater, esp in NorCal it can climb into the 60's during the day, increasing the COP of the heat pump when she's using her office. But she'd nix it for the aesthetics as well as the noise...
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,351
17,444
San Diego, CA
Genuinely curious - what's the alternative?

Plenty of places use the same model CA does, not all have this problem.

Same model, not for profit.

See: SMUD et al

I disagree gentlemen. I lived in TX for 10 years before moving to CA, and they have a true market system for power, that provides for high resiliency, high renewable generation, and extremely competitive rates for the end user.

The companies that own the poles+wires in TX are not usually the same as the power producers. Most customers in TX can choose which power producer they want to purchase power from (www.powertochoose.org), and because of this competitive landscape, the price for power is a fraction of what it is in CA. Usually 8-12c/kwh.

And TX also has comparable renewable generation to CA. It produces as much wind energy as the next 3+ states combined (https://www.power-technology.com/features/us-wind-energy-by-state/), but it is behind the curve in solar deployment (Which States Are Best for Solar Power? | Vivint Solar Learning Center).

A for-profit monopoly (CA system) is the worst possible design for customers, although I would argue the sky-high rates in CA have been instrumental in selling crazy amounts of rooftop solar.

A non-profit model has merits, but the weakness in that kind of system is that you are beholden to the politicians and bureacrats to have your best interest and set power rates accordingly. That doesn't always happen.

A for-profit model with FORCED competition (i.e. the gov doesn't allow monopolies to take hold) is the best possible system for the consumer. Individual companies are incentivized to be ingenuitive in business model and keep prices competitive to attract customers.
 

Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,989
1,444
Sonoma, California
PG&E should be broken up into micro grids which could be run by the various CCA companies. Get rid of the monopoly and have a smaller territory to take care of. I know it is a pipe dream but something needs to change, yes the solar companies and battery storage companies are doing well.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,351
17,444
San Diego, CA
Foreigner here but own property in California. Is it legal for a homeowner to go off grid? EG disconnect from the grid.

Thank you.

Depends upon the specific power provider and the local laws.

You could do something similar to what we do. We are "effectively" off grid. We have enough powerwalls and solar to cover 98-99% of our use cases. The only situations where we draw from the grid are when we have a string of days in the winter with lots of rain and there is not sufficient solar for us to charge the powerwalls back up.

End result, we only pay about $10 per month to the utility, and that's basically a connectivity charge.



Going off-grid completely requires a lot more than just having "enough solar" and "enough batteries". You have to have mechanisms in place to deal with solar over-production or days on end without enough solar. When your batteries are full, where does the extra solar go? Does the solar get shut off and you run on powerwalls even though the sun is shining? That would be a waste when you could feed it into the grid for some kind of credit.

Powerwalls also don't deal that great with being off-grid and full up. As some people have mentioned in this forum, you run into the issue of the PWs shutting off the solar (through an elevation of the frequency of the power they supply back to the inverter). This can cause problems with appliances and electronics and doesn't result in the best customer experience.


Interestingly enough, we just had this week a 35 hour, 54 minute forced outage in north San Diego county due to high winds and fire risk. I had to keep an eye on the PW2s to make sure they didn't get much above 90%. I mitigated this issue by plugging in a car and using it to draw power from the solar until the sun set. If the car battery had been full, I would have probably flipped the switch on one of the solar circuits (we have 4 circuits) to try to balance out usage and not get into the above mentioned issues. Or called a neighbor over and charged one of their cars for free.
 
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