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Silicon Valley Clean Energy CCA (Santa Clara County)

Discussion in 'California' started by miimura, Mar 31, 2017.

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  1. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a Community Choice Aggregation provider for electric customers served by PG&E in Santa Clara County in the following jurisdictions:
    Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, and Unincorporated Santa Clara County.

    Community Choice Aggregation was enabled by Assembly Bill 117 in 2002. Not only did it allow CCA's to be formed, but it mandated that all customers served would be automatically enrolled with an option to opt-out.

    Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) will start enrolling customers in April 2017. Many customers have already received introduction letters and SVCE has already held community meetings to introduce themselves and answer questions from the public.

    I have already received the introduction letter and I started investigating it because I was not familiar with CCAs and the Opt-Out nature of it seemed fishy to me. What follows below is my own interpretation. I have no connection to the CCA or PG&E except that I am a customer and my interpretation may be wrong. I have solar and I am a Net Energy Metering customer on the Schedule EV rate plan.

    SVCE buys 100% carbon free power on behalf of customers. Their charges will only replace the Generation portion of your bill. You will continue to be served by PG&E and they will still be responsible for maintaining all of the electrical distribution system, so you will get the same electric service reliability. SVCE's rate plans mirror PG&E's rates, but have a discount compared to PG&E's rates. My rate comparison is shown below. They also have a program called Green Prime which is 100% renewable for a premium of $0.008/kWh. They say on their web site that Green Prime does not include large hydro power. They don't mention Nuclear power, so I don't know if they buy any for either of their programs.

    Since I am posting this on EV forums, I focused my comparison on the three rate plans most likely to be used by people here.

    SVCE Comparison.jpg

    So, you can see that there is a 3.0 to 3.2 cents/kWh discount across the board compared to PG&E. The E-1 and E-6 rate schedules have Baseline pricing and that is implemented with "Conservation Incentive Adjustments" in the PG&E tariffs, so the discount varies according to how much power you use. I just used the baseline price for comparison. The discount percentage will be less the more energy you use because the total rate gets higher.

    NEM Specific Differences to PG&E billing:
    1. Monthly Billing: If you owe energy charges at the end of a given month, you will be billed for it. If you have a credit balance it will roll forward to the end of your true-up.
    2. Annual Cash Out: If you have a credit balance of more than $100, it will be automatically paid to you, up to $5,000. Amounts less than $100 will roll over to the next year.

    Now, the way this reads to me, it seems like they have done away with the Net Consumer credit balance wipe-out done by PG&E. This happens when you consume more kWh than you generate, but you have a dollar credit balance due to TOU price differentials. PG&E normally wipes out this credit balance because you're not a Net Surplus Generator. SVCE explicitly says that they pay their full Generation rates for Surplus Generation, so it seems like they pay all credit balances. I always pay a significant amount at True-Up due to my small solar system, so I'm not motivated to get a clear answer on this. If this is important to you, I highly recommend that you call them.

    My personal conclusion is that even with solar, I will Opt-In for early enrollment in the Green Prime plan because it will give me more than 18% discount on my EV charging and will only slightly reduce my solar generation credits.

    References:
    Silicon Valley Clean Energy
    SVCE Residential Rates (PDF)
    PG&E Tariffs
     
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  2. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    Thanks for a great summary of a CCA. I have been actively involve with my little Califonia Beach town in its efforts to start a CCA. The movement is gaining momentum. By June it is estimated that over a million ratepayers in California will be buying power through a CCA. One of the options my city is looking at is the County of Los Angeles. If all the eligible cities in LA County joined, that CCA would account for 40% of SCE's market. Besides offering local control overy rates and cheaper power with more renewable mix, CCAs can offer incentive programs for EV purchase. The retail rate at true up works like a feed in tarrif to make a solar installation cash flow positive.
     
  3. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Well, I looked at this some more and I missed something. This is directly from the page Understanding Your Bill : Silicon Valley Clean Energy

    Power Charge Indifference Adjustment
    PG&E charges Silicon Valley Clean Energy customers a Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), which is calculated based on the number of kilowatt-hours used each month. The PCIA is intended to ensure that SVCE customers pay the difference between what PG&E paid for power contracted to serve them prior to their switch, and the current market value of that power. For most SVCE customers, the PCIA is currently two to three cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on when the customer switched to Silicon Valley Clean Energy and whether they are a residential or a commercial customer. The PCIA charge is factored into SVCE’s rate setting process so that in total, customers still save money compared to PG&E’s rates.​

    So, the rates that SVCE has set are nominally the same as PG&E's rates after this adjustment - probably about 1/2% less than PG&E. If you choose Green Prime for an extra $0.008/kWh, you will be paying more than PG&E's rates. Their site shows this clearly on the Residential Rates : Silicon Valley Clean Energy page for a typical $100 residential bill.

    I also called about the NEM Net Surplus Compensation and Credit Balance wipe-out situation. If you are a net user of energy (positive kWh at true-up) but have a credit balance due to TOU Distribution credits, PG&E will wipe out that credit balance just like they do for bundled customers. In fact, if you are a Net Surplus Generator, I don't think PG&E will pay you anything if you are on a CCA because their NSC is reportedly based on wholesale generation rates. However, SVCE has a separate balance for Generation. If your Generation balance is positive on any monthly bill, that payable portion will go through to your "blue bill" for payment. If you have a Generation credit balance, it will roll over to be used in future months that might have positive energy charges. Any credit balance at true-up will be fully paid out if over $100. Annual pay-outs are limited to $5,000. Balances under $100 will roll over to the next true-up cycle.

    So, if you usually have a dollar credit balance at true-up, you should immediately sign up for Green Prime and cut over before your PG&E true-up. You will get full credit for Generation at the higher Green Prime rates, even if you are a net kWh consumer. You have a couple weeks to decide because the April enrollments are already locked in, but you should ask for enrollment at least a couple weeks before your billing cycle ends. If you don't want to do Green Prime, you will be automatically enrolled the month after your regular PG&E true-up.
     
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  4. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Miimura, as always I really appreciate your analysis and time spent on anything solar, power and PG&E. I've read over just about everything you've posted on these topics just to make sure I'm not missing something important, and my own experience generally confirms most if not all of your analysis on the various rate plans. I've been monitoring tthe other thread discussing SCVA and will continue to do so along with this thread in the hopes of piggybacking off of others who may transition to SCVA before my time to do so will come up in a few months.

    I have a small (5 kW) system and with two EVs, I'm a net user by far. However, in the summer months, I do generate a small $$ surplus based on net metering which in turn is based on being credited at the full RETAIL rate by PG&E within any TOU period. I've only been on solar for less than a year and my true-up isn't until July. But before PG&E made changes to their bills to make it harder to discern how the credits for surplus energy were calculated during TOU periods, I went back and checked bills and I was definitely being credited at the full RETAIL rate for surplus energy during any particular TOU period. So, for example, last summer during peak hours when we generated surplus amounts during the day, PG&E credited me at $0.458/kWh for each surplus kWh sent back to the grid within that TOU period. That made all the difference during the months with a lot of sun, as even though we were net users because of our cars, we were still banking credits based on the excess energy generated at the significantly higher retail rate.

    I've read over SCVA's materials including the high level discussion of net metering. I cannot recall where, but I thought I had read somewhere that under net metering, surplus energy would be credited back at the GENERATION rate. Is this correct? If it is, then I could be taking a big hit by switching if surplus energy pushed back to the grid will only be credited under net metering at SCVA's GENERATION rate (which would only be $0.19884 at summer peak rates) and not the full RETAIL rate, which would be either a hair under PG&E's full retail rate if going with standard SCVA rate or a hair above if choosing the Green Prime option on SCVA. If I didn't have solar, SCVA would be an easy choice. However, with solar, this really matters when I am trying to get the maximum return on my solar investment. It will be hard to make the switch to SCVA without knowing exactly how this will be treated.
     
  5. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    My understanding is that after you join the CCA, PG&E will continue to accrue your Net Usage and convert the TOU kWH to dollars each month. The difference is that they will use the Unbundled Rates and they will not be billing you for the Generation portion, but they will add that lovely PCIA charge. In a separate portion of the bill, SVCE will bill for your Generation usage or accrue your Generation credits. So, you are still accruing credits at "retail rates" it's just that SVCE is accruing Generation and PG&E is accruing Distribution, Transmission, etc. In the end, if you choose the GreenStart plan as a solar customer with net costs at the end of the year, your costs will be basically the same as PG&E Total Rates, maybe a tiny bit less. If you have a dollar credit at the end of your true-up, the PG&E portion will probably be wiped out, but you will get to cash out all of the SVCE Generation credits at "retail rates".

    Here is the EV-A Unbundled Rates table from the March 1, 2017 tariff.

    EV-A Unbundled Tariff Table 170301.jpg

    In the table in the first post of this thread, I took these Generation figures and compared to SVCE's published rates.
     
  6. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    #6 SFOTurtle, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    Wow, sounds complicated. Hopefully the early adopters can report on their experiences and confirm your understanding and confirm that the billing is being done correctly. Were you able to figure this out, assuming your understanding is correct, by gleaning this from the SCVA materials? I'd like to re-read those portions. Would also be nice if someone from SCVA could confirm your understanding is correct.

    My true-up with PG&E isn't until July. Right now, I owe about $700, and with the solar generation now kicking in for many of the peak hours, I don't think that total will go up very much between now and then. Someone remind me, what is the advantage of switching over now assuming I go with the Green Prime option?
     
  7. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I called and talked to a SVCE rep on the phone and came to these conclusions. My in-laws routinely have a $200+ credit balance wiped out by PG&E and they recently had their true-up so they should be automatically enrolled in May. I will ask them for a copy of their first bill to see what it looks like and update this thread.

    There is no financial advantage to switching early if you will owe a balance at the end of your true-up. You would have to pay the existing PG&E balance sooner and the GreenPrime rate is slightly higher than PG&E rates.

    The only monetary reason to switch early is if you have a small balance now and your summer generation will push you negative and it will be wiped out by PG&E. It will take more than one billing cycle to get you changed over right now. My billing cycle starts on the 20th of the month and the rep said that the soonest I could get enrolled would be the cycle starting 5/20 and only then if I started the process before 4/15.
     
  8. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Got it, thanks for the info. Assuming the info provided by SCVA is correct, I'll most likely make the change to SCVA when my true-up happens. Then I will do a little math to see whether it makes financial sense to do the GreenPrime with a year's worth of data in hand. The slightly higher rate may actually pay for itself with net metering.
     
  9. SMAlset

    SMAlset Member

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    #9 SMAlset, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
    They had a meeting in our area that we attended and basically for the average home owner, there isn't much difference in the cost of your bill. And it still gets generated by PG&E and you still submit payments to them. PG&E still gets what it needs to cover the distribution end of it and the amount will be broken out on your bill. The difference by being with SVCE is instead of buying power through PG&E's contracts, you buy them from SVCE's contracts (Silicon Valley Clean Energy, svcleanenergy.org). They said they have purchased them for five years out already so locked into those rates. As I recall, the guy who spoke was an energy broker with a power company maybe in the Sacramento area for something like 30 years, so he knows the business well. The savings that SVCE is able to get from the broker end of it is accumulated in an account and residuals get turned back to the communities for use as they see fit--like solar panels for instance, but something green. The savings on an individual customer basis really comes to those that have solar installed and put back into the grid and sign up for their GreenPrime accounts. Those people get more of a rebate check at the end of their year than they would from PG&E. The timing of that period depended on when your solar install was done.

    The SVCE group is a not-for-profit. They have a small group of employees working to do this (in fact might have been this guy who spoke and one other person who does the marketing with him; do remember my husband asking if that # will change in the future once this program rolls out to everyone in these participating cities and he said it could but not drastically). Local cities participating in this each have a representative who sits on the SVCE board--those are all non-paid positions. Basically the guy was saying they don't have a huge overhead which people in attendance were interested in knowing. Don't really remember too much more.

    If you are the average home owner, there is nothing to do, you will be automatically opted in. You have to call PG&E if you choose to stay with them instead of letting your community provide the power source through SVCE. By staying with SVCE you get the satisfaction of knowing that the power is coming from green energy sources and your local community will benefit directly from the distributions down the road.

    BTW they said they were in talks with San Jose but nothing in the works yet. San Jose joining in would greatly add to their user base if they do so.
     
  10. SMAlset

    SMAlset Member

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    #10 SMAlset, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
    Oh for those generating solar power going back into the grid, when you installed your system and when you get your first check from SVCE will depend on that date. Since we don't have panels, I wasn't paying too much attention to this part but some people if they signed up for the GreenPrime accounts wouldn't see a check until the following year because of how their solar panel install date fell with regards to the peak generating time during Summer.

    The PCIA referenced in Post #3, is due to the legacy power generating contracts PG&E has already in place, sometimes over 30 years if I recall correctly, that still need to be paid for by everyone served. For example contracts from a power plant or wind farm that were purchased in advance by PG&E to lock in a rate. It was explained in the meeting that this "surcharge" (my words) to SVCE will be adjusted over time as the contracts run out so that figure on your bill will fluctuate from time to time.
     
  11. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    I have rooftop solar and I switched from PG&E to Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) for energy procurement; PG&E still delivers the energy and bills me of course. I spent a lot of time understanding this on the phone with PCE. It sounds like the mechanism is the same ... you'd want to switch when your true-up balance is negative (you owe PG&E a payment) or near zero. That's the most ideal so you don't lose any true-up credits you may have built up with your solar generation.

    Regarding PCIA, this goes away after a while. After a number of years with your new energy procurer/CCA, you won't be responsible for those contracts and the charges drop to zero.

    I switched for about half a year now and I've been really happy. My energy procurement/generation charges are about 5% lower through PCE, but I still have reliable PG&E service if there is a storm outage or something. PCE also has very good treatment for surplus solar, as in, anything you generate in excess of usage after true-up for the year, is purchased at very advantageous rates.

    - K
     
  12. Stuart

    Stuart Roadster#326, ModelS#1409

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    I think the key question here, which people have speculated about, but I haven’t seen in any official document, is whether PG&E will continue to give a credit for the distribution charges in periods where your solar panels generate a net surplus. It’s possible that PG&E could allow the solar generation to zero out the distribution charges, but not make them negative. It’s also possible that PG&E could argue that it’s fair to bill you for distribution charges in periods where your solar panels generate a net surplus, because they still have the distribution costs associated with distributing the excess power you generate back into the grid. In effect PG&E would be charging you to take the excess power away. It would be like paying to have your garbage taken away.

    Now that the switch has started in April, some people should have started receiving post-switch bills, where it should be clear whether or not PG&E is issuing distribution credits, which roll forward month to month until the annual true-up. On my last PG&E bill I got a total retail credit of $180, which reduced my ongoing true-up balance from $403 to $223. This month, which should be my true-up month, if I get another $180 credit (which is likely if it continues to be sunny) Ill end up owing PG&E $43 for the year.

    Has anyone yet received a PG&E bill showing a distribution credit which carries forward, like the generation credits carry forward?
     
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  13. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    As far as I know, when you are on a CCA you still have a rate plan with PG&E. The only difference is that they follow the Unbundled Rates in the Tariff. The way the credits work is still goverened by the NEM Tariff that you're on. The primary difference between the NEM 1 Tariff and the NEM 2 Tariff is that NEM 2 has Non-Bypassable Charges. These are all the miscellaneous non-TOU charges at the bottom of the Unbundled Rates. It adds up to a little over 5c/kWh and you have to pay that for all the kWh you draw from the grid. I haven't seen a bill under NEM 2, but I believe there will be a separate calculation area and those charges will be added to your true-up. Maybe if your energy charges for a given billing cycle are greater than this it won't be added. I'm not sure.

    Anyway, that was a long winded way of saying that your true-up should look the same except that the PG&E portion will be calculated without Generation and a separate section for SVCE will be calculated with only Generation. Any amount you owe SVCE will be put through for payment while any Generation credit balance will carry over until true-up. PG&E credits for net consumers will be wiped out at true-up while SVCE Generation Credits will all be paid out if greater than $100. Smaller SVCE credits will carry over into the next true-up cycle.
     
  14. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Anyone with solar who has switched to SVCE receive a bill from PG&E showing the various credits?
     
  15. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I just noticed that you can start your early enrollment in SVCE Green Prime on their web site. In fact, I just did mine. No need to call in to do it.
     
  16. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    My annual true-up is not until the end of July so I'm going to wait until then to make the switch (assuming that the economics are essentially no worse on SCVE for NEM if not a hair better). But please post an update to this thread if you see anything that gives you pause when you get your first bill after making the switch to SCVE Prime.
     
  17. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I also see my company's PG&E bill and recently noticed that I was not getting Peak Day notifications any more. Our account was auto-enrolled with SVCE effective April. Prior to the change we were on the mandatory Peak Day Pricing model with the A-1 rate schedule. After the change to SVCE, there are no references to Peak Day Pricing, which explains why I'm no longer getting the notifications.

    Now, looking at the A-1 Tariff, they specifically call out that CCA customers are not eligible for PDP. In our case, the only way to significantly reduce our usage from 2-6pm is to make the office really cold in the morning and let it drift up to uncomfortably hot temps at the end of the day. This causes more total usage, so I'm glad there's no longer a financial motive to do it.
     
  18. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    That was a great example of why we need more CCAs and more local control over rates. Since there is curtailment of renewable energy in the mornings because of the glut of solar generation I hope we will see some change in rates to reflect that part of the market. I should be careful for what I wish for since I benefit greatly from being credited for solar generation at high rates.
     
  19. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Anyone with solar who transitioned over to SCVE receive their new bill(s) yet? Anyone confirm that there is no signficant change to the overall economics from NEM?
     
  20. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    My early enrollment in SVCE Green Prime finally triggered the early true-up in my PG&E bill. I will share next month's bill with the SVCE details shown.
     

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