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PG&E Issues

Discussion in 'California' started by napabill, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    Location:
    Napa, California, United States
    I had SolarCity install a 6.25 kW system on September 10th. Got city inspection and submission to PG&E on September 25th. So it is now 10/21/13 and I'm still waiting on PG&E. I decided to turn the system on on 9/24/13. Was able to see the usage online go to 0kW during the afternoon. Then on 10/16 I called PG&E to bitch about them not showing up. I was assured that someone would be calling within the next week or 2 to put the net-metering meter in. A couple of days later I looked at the usage graph on PG&E's website and on Thursday it started showing my system going into negative numbers in the afternoon. Nothing else has changed. And the meter has not been changed. I'm speculating that PG&E is prepping the software in anticipation of eminent switchover to new meter. But have still heard nothing. I decided to shut the system down so I don't get scolded by the installer, assuming one is about to show up.

    Today I called SolarCity to complain. According to the Customer Service guy, PG&E is intentionally dragging their feet on making these changeovers to solar. What happened to the "public" part of public utility?:cursing:
     
  2. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Location:
    SF Bay area, CA
    Same experience with PG&E regarding my SolarCity 16kW system. As per my posts on other threads, after waiting on PG&E for 2 weeks after my final electrical/building inspection to come swap out the meter, I just went ahead and turned on my PV system to at least drive the meter to zero (but no backfeed). In my case PG&E did change out the meter (from a SmartMeter to one for net metering), but I have heard that they sometimes can 'repurpose' existing meters with firmware/software to allow net metering. Once done, I could go onto the PG&E site and see that indeed they were seeing my backfeed.

    Second saga is with getting PG&E to change my rate from the old E1 to the new EV-A rate. I first got the usual 'will take 1-2 billing cycles to make the change'--what, to click a few keystrokes in your billing system??!! Then after the rep figured out that I had installed 2 NEMA 14-50s (BTW, fully legal, on permit, inspected by local authorities, added to new construction with an existing 400A service), I was told that the PG&E Building Department had to evaluate my electrical system and check for any impact on their electrical infrastructure (...was I going to melt down the downfeed from the transformer on the pole at the street, or was the entire reserve power capacity on my street marginal if I plugged in 50A of draw???!!). So now I wait at the old E1 rate, getting screwed by PG&E, and avoiding charging at home (I fortunately have lots of resources at work, in public garages, etc).

    Indeed, so much for a 'public' utility.
     
  3. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    Napa, California, United States
    As I mentioned, I am now seeing a "backfeed" on the PG&E website usage graph. Does that mean I've heard the last from them?

    I had already changed my rate schedule to EV-9A when I got my Tesla. As I understand it, I should try and keep that schedule until they force me into the EV-A schedule. I believe EV-9A is better as the spread between what you use 12:00 to 7:00 AM (Tesla charging) and what you generate during the daylight hours is more favorable. That is why they will eventually force everyone to EV-A.
     
  4. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    Our 25 kw system install was completed Sept. 20th of last year and PG&E did not change the meter to a bio directional meter until the end of December. Because of the size, we had to change our transformer from 15kv to 25kv, that did not happen for over a year, it was just changed out 2 weeks ago. So you know, if you use the system now, their website will show negative usage as will your meter but you will still get billed as if the meter never went backwards during the day.
     
  5. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Location:
    Los Altos, CA
    My understanding is that the regular SmartMeters will not register negative usage. Are you sure that they did not swap the meter without telling you? The new NEM SmartMeters look almost identical to the conventional ones. I would check to see if you have any clocks flashing or other evidence that the power was out. It only takes them 5 minutes to swap it out. In any case, you should get the letter from PG&E that says you are approved for interconnect in 2 to 4 weeks after inspection. You will get that letter before they even schedule somebody to come out to do the meter swap. The amount of time for them come out depends entirely on how busy they are in your area. In December 2012, they came out only 2-3 days after I got the interconnect letter.

    Changing to E-9A in May 2013 was very simple for me and a real person answered on the second ring. In my case they just asked what kind of car I purchased - a RAV4EV but they did not ask what kind of EVSE I was planning to use. It was active at the very beginning of my next billing cycle. However, I called the number listed on the page http://www.pge.com/electricvehicles/ which is 1-877-743-7782. I've heard that if you call the main number they are generally clueless about the EV rates and you're likely to get the runaround.

    Regarding E-9A vs. EV-A, it depends on how your solar system is sized relative to your total usage. If your Summer monthly bill is negative, then you may be better off on E9-A. In my situation, now that I have added EV charging, my summer bill is just barely positive, which means that my winter bills will be significant. In that case, EV-A is cheaper over the full year because of the non-tiered structure. If you want more details see the more detailed thread here.
     
  6. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    Napa, California, United States
    And they're getting the backfeed for the grid, just not paying for it? I'll be lucky if they ever show up!:cursing:
     
  7. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    Cue the music, "We're in the money!". No sooner did I post the above, that I received an email from PG&E giving me permission to turn on my system. So it appears that JPP's comment, "they sometimes can 'repurpose' existing meters with firmware/software to allow net metering" in the above post is correct. My meter was not changed and PG&E never visited my house. I know this as the little wire seal attached to the meter had been broken months ago, and remains broken. Had the meter been changed, a fresh seal would have been installed.

    So I can stop ragging on PG&E. For now, anyway.:wink:
     
  8. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    Awesome, they do seem to be getting better about solar installations by the day so hopefully this is the case and you are free of pg&e too! I would still be a little wary about your current meter and do not be completely shocked if your bill and meter do not agree. If the meter is not bidirectional it will not send negative numbers to pg&e's billing department. Here is how it worked for us:

    Day 1 starts; meter @ 1000
    end of day 1 meter now reads 900
    The following morning, day 2 starts; meter @ 950 (pg&e bills for 50 kwh)
    end of day 2 meter reads 850
    The next morning 3 starts; Meter @ 900 (pg&e bills for 50 kwh)
    end of day 3 meter reads 800

    So, after 3 days our meter goes negative 200 kwh and yet we get billed positive 100 kwh usage.

    In any case, you have approval to flip the switch, SaweeeeTness man!
     
  9. darthvdr

    darthvdr Member

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    los gatos, ca
    This is good information as I am in the process of getting it installed to our vacation home
     

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