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Understanding What PG&E Pay’s For Excess Solar?

BGbreeder

Member
Jun 19, 2020
237
132
Bay Area
The shifting peak pricing periods are just a reflection of demand minus generation. With more solar available during the day, the net demand shifts later. The late afternoon cooling/heating surge pretty much gets covered by solar these days. There has always been a surge in demand 5-9, as people use power to cook, cool, heat, do laundry. So, net, net peak pricing moves later to reflect the surge costs in peaking generators. Having energy storage helps everyone by being able to supply power during the most needed times.

All the best,

BG
 
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miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,267
5,897
Los Altos, CA
Totally agree. However, the unknown is what will future rates be and rate periods. I'm still on EV-A1, but when I switch to EV-A2 it will change the Peak period from 2 to 9 to 4 to 9. That loses 2 hours of solar credit at Peak
While the loss of Peak hours from 2pm-4pm is bad, IMHO the much worse part is the reduction of credits from solar generation from 7am-2pm due to those hours being Off-Peak on EV2-A while they were Part-Peak on EV-A. For those without Powerwalls, that makes a much bigger difference in billable energy charges.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
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While the loss of Peak hours from 2pm-4pm is bad, IMHO the much worse part is the reduction of credits from solar generation from 7am-2pm due to those hours being Off-Peak on EV2-A while they were Part-Peak on EV-A. For those without Powerwalls, that makes a much bigger difference in billable energy charges.

yeah a double whammy. You're right that off peak span is worse than losing 2 hours
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
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after thinking about the off peak versus shoulder from 7am to 2pm, perhaps its not that bad. My PWs don't charge to 100% until noonish. So I'll be using from the grid at off peak versus shoulder until noon
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,068
9,786
SF Bay Area
If you are with a Community Choice Aggregator for power generation they may buy the net generation at a higher rate. Silicon Valley Clean Energy buys the annual excess at the retail rates in the range of 6-8 cents/kWH.

Our town like a number here on the Peninsula, South Bay and South County have Silicon Valley Clean Energy as their generation source. Here’s their webpage explaining how solar installs affect your billing (rate, excess to grid and true-up).

Rooftop Solar - SVCE
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
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95762
Our town like a number here on the Peninsula, South Bay and South County have Silicon Valley Clean Energy as their generation source. Here’s their webpage explaining how solar installs affect your billing (rate, excess to grid and true-up).

Rooftop Solar - SVCE

What are the rates compared to PG&E? SVCE is not really a generation source. They buy energy (probably all from PG&E). They can't actually deliver 100% green energy to your house.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,068
9,786
SF Bay Area
What are the rates compared to PG&E? SVCE is not really a generation source. They buy energy (probably all from PG&E). They can't actually deliver 100% green energy to your house.

Not an expert on SVCE and only attended their public rollout meeting in our town. Customers in Cities that participated were automatically enrolled (you had to opt out if you wanted to stay with PG&E). SVCE contracts to buy power from 100% renewable sources (recall something about 10-year contracts at the time). Rates are cheaper than PG&E and they pass the savings on to SVCE customers. There was also some incentive passed on to the cities which helped your community locally.

SVCE is our generating source and PG&E is the distributor and still provides the billing. Our bills reflect both PG&E and SVCE portions with a PG&E credit on them for the kWhs used you would have been paying to PG&E (so you can see your savings on your bill). PG&E does also charge a fee to everyone on the SVCE program to factor in some agreed upon difference for their generation contracts in existence that have lost customers paying into their fixed cost. This amount gets reviewed and updated periodically. The SVCE site explains the billing if you are interested. I don’t believe you are located in the SVCE area. We have saved money on our electricity being part of SVCE and now that we just got solar and will see some going back to the grid, we’ll save even more.
 

getakey

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Jan 28, 2020
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415
95762
I'm not in SVCE area, but I've read about multiple of these types of "Green Utilities". I'd call it a scam, but you get lower rates.
So if they only buy from 100% renewable, what happens when the sun goes down? Only small hydro is considered renewable and there isn't enough small hydro and wind to supply everything that is needed. I suppose if their customer base is small it might be within that generation capacity. But, this distribution is through PG&E lines. There's no electron traffic cop on the network directing solar electrons to one house and not to another. I personnaly do not see how their (and others just like them) business model works in the long run. They have no generation, they have to buy. They have no distribution, they have to rely on on PG&E grid. Some of the similar companies I've seen don't even send out the bill. PG&E does. So they have not reduced PG&E generation costs, distribution costs, maintenance costs, admin costs or liability. All they are is a middle man - but not even that in the real sense. All they do is add more salaries on top of PG&E costs for the same kWh. At some point the model breaks. Looks kind of like some sort of pyramid scheme.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,267
5,897
Los Altos, CA
I'm not in SVCE area, but I've read about multiple of these types of "Green Utilities". I'd call it a scam, but you get lower rates.
So if they only buy from 100% renewable, what happens when the sun goes down? Only small hydro is considered renewable and there isn't enough small hydro and wind to supply everything that is needed. I suppose if their customer base is small it might be within that generation capacity. But, this distribution is through PG&E lines. There's no electron traffic cop on the network directing solar electrons to one house and not to another. I personnaly do not see how their (and others just like them) business model works in the long run. They have no generation, they have to buy. They have no distribution, they have to rely on on PG&E grid. Some of the similar companies I've seen don't even send out the bill. PG&E does. So they have not reduced PG&E generation costs, distribution costs, maintenance costs, admin costs or liability. All they are is a middle man - but not even that in the real sense. All they do is add more salaries on top of PG&E costs for the same kWh. At some point the model breaks. Looks kind of like some sort of pyramid scheme.
This is clearly not a pyramid scheme. PG&E does not own the vast majority of generating assets and they just contract to buy power, usually at unfavorable rates because they pass it on to customers. The CCAs contract power purchases on behalf of their customer base instead of PG&E. While it is true that PG&E still handles all the transmission and distribution and the CCA cannot assure that every electron that enters your house is "green", they have purchased carbon free and renewable power to cover the consumption of their customers.

This "scheme" was started by California State law, which is why it has automatic enrollment and billing through PG&E. PG&E has always separated the Generation from the other items in the tariffs and the CCAs are just replacing the Generation portion of the PG&E billing. Over time we may see the CCAs open up a bigger differential and save their customers more money once we can get the PUC to eliminate or drastically reduce the underhanded PCIA fee that is justified by PG&E's overpriced long term power purchase contracts.
 
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getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,249
415
95762
This is clearly not a pyramid scheme. PG&E does not own the vast majority of generating assets and they just contract to buy power, usually at unfavorable rates because they pass it on to customers. The CCAs contract power purchases on behalf of their customer base instead of PG&E. While it is true that PG&E still handles all the transmission and distribution and the CCA cannot assure that every electron that enters your house is "green", they have purchased carbon free and renewable power to cover the consumption of their customers.

This "scheme" was started by California State law, which is why it has automatic enrollment and billing through PG&E. PG&E has always separated the Generation from the other items in the tariffs and the CCAs are just replacing the Generation portion of the PG&E billing. Over time we may see the CCAs open up a bigger differential and save their customers more money once we can get the PUC to eliminate or drastically reduce the underhanded PCIA fee that is justified by PG&E's overpriced long term power purchase contracts.

True PG&E contracts for a lot (most?) of their generation. Not defending PG&E, but they were forced into high Renewabe contracts before the prices came down. The CCAs definetly got the advantage of contracting for newer lower prices. I disagree that CCAs have purchased carbon free and renewable power to cover the consumption of their customers. After 4pm, most of the electrons going to homes are NG. These CCA customers are getting NG electrons to consume. Might make someone feel good, but they are not getting renewable carbon free electrons all the time.
 

Redhill_qik

Member
Aug 16, 2020
254
161
South SF Bay, California
I'm not in SVCE area, but I've read about multiple of these types of "Green Utilities". I'd call it a scam, but you get lower rates.
So if they only buy from 100% renewable, what happens when the sun goes down? Only small hydro is considered renewable and there isn't enough small hydro and wind to supply everything that is needed. I suppose if their customer base is small it might be within that generation capacity. But, this distribution is through PG&E lines. There's no electron traffic cop on the network directing solar electrons to one house and not to another. I personnaly do not see how their (and others just like them) business model works in the long run. They have no generation, they have to buy. They have no distribution, they have to rely on on PG&E grid. Some of the similar companies I've seen don't even send out the bill. PG&E does. So they have not reduced PG&E generation costs, distribution costs, maintenance costs, admin costs or liability. All they are is a middle man - but not even that in the real sense. All they do is add more salaries on top of PG&E costs for the same kWh. At some point the model breaks. Looks kind of like some sort of pyramid scheme.

SVCE has 270,000 accounts (residential and business) according to their website (Home - SVCE). I expected this to be much larger as the default was to opt-in and I was surprised by the switch having missed the notifications. You could switch back to PG&E if you wanted to and I recall seeing some posts on Nextdoor from people that were upset about the switch (understandable) and how it was scam to charge them more for solar/green. Personally, I have save more every month by being on SVCE since the switch back in 2017.

On the cost side for the last pre-solar month I had the following:
  • PG&E Generation Credit $-72.55 ($-0.11742/kWh blended Tier 1&2)
  • PG&E Power Charge Indifference Charge (PCIA) $20.60 ($0.03334/kWh no Tiers)
  • SVCE Generation $48.72 ($0.07885/kWh no Tiers)
  • SVCE Energy Commission Surcharge $0.19
  • $44.24 Savings over PG&E
The "pyramid scheme" is PG&E customers leaving in droves to other generation providers that have a lower generation cost than what PG&E is under contract to pay. To protect the remaining PG&E customers from rapid rate increases everyone that leaves pays a Power Charge Indifference Charge (PCIA) that is based on the year (vintage) that you left and my understanding is that at some point this charge will be eliminated when the contracts expire.

Yes, the electrons are all mingled from all of the sources, but what matters matching usage against solar and wind generation sources and there appears to be some wiggle room similar to the NEM TrueUp as the SVCE GreenPrime 100% Renewable plan (Upgrade to GreenPrime - SVCE) indicates that the 100% claim is on an annual basis. If your annual true-up bill comes to a net production would you say that you were 100% solar powered even though you paid NBC for pulling power at night? Some would, some might not.

The bottom line for me is that with SVCE I was paying less and now SVCE will pay me more for net generation (and another ~10% $0.008/kWh for GreenPrime) and I assume that they will count this in their annual GreenPrime numbers to get to 100%.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,249
415
95762
Analogy


Lets say I use 1000 gallons per day of water. I get it from Utility Blue. Utility Blue gets its water from multiple sources and owns the distribution lines from all the sources and into my neighborhood. Utility Green comes along and says I can sell you pure spring water. There is a spring water source that we can buy all your water from and have it delivered to your home through the existing distribution lines. However there is a quirk in this spring. It can deliver your 1000 gallons, but only from 7am to 5pm. So we will buy those 1000 gallons at a price lower than Utility Blue. Utility Blue will continue to deliver your water and they will add a delivery fee.


So, from 7am to 5 pm, I use 600 gallons of water, but the spring put 1000 gallons into the distribution system. Someone else is using 400 of those gallons. And, now from 5pm until 7am, I use 400 gallons that I know are for sure not from the Spring. Not only that, since the Spring water went into the big distribution system, my "pure spring water" is diluted by all the water from all the other sources.


Now at some point, Utility Blue says enough of this, I’m going to raise the delivery fees or refuse to let the spring water into my network. Clearly the State/PUC will frown on that, but it could clearly happen.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,068
9,786
SF Bay Area
Could happen but I’m not going to spend much time thinking about it. All kinds of crap can happen without our consent. That’s life. By installing our solar/PWs we have a greater degree of control for now and at our house we have had days with no grid usage (just got our first partial bill). And being part of SVCE saves us more on what we do use from the grid and helps provide some funding to communities to install public chargers. I’m sure State and Federal money went into the cost of the infrastructure and tax breaks were given so doubt PG&E paid for all of the infrastructure and certainly rate payers in communities have contributed in mass as well, so I can see how critical infrastructure lines need to be shared but best maintained by one entity hopefully working in the public’s best interest.

Now of course there’s the cost of our equipment to consider that we own as a solar generator ourselves. Not everyone can or will install solar and or battery back up just like suddenly there won’t be ICE vehicles on the road. Suppose it’s not unlike the phone company having to share their lines with other telecoms or gas companies sharing their delivery system with other gas providers.

Getting back to the topic PG&E simply has a different structure than an CCA so whatever works best for the homeowner is the way to go.
 
Last edited:

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,142
236
Monterey, CA
This is clearly not a pyramid scheme. PG&E does not own the vast majority of generating assets and they just contract to buy power, usually at unfavorable rates because they pass it on to customers. The CCAs contract power purchases on behalf of their customer base instead of PG&E. While it is true that PG&E still handles all the transmission and distribution and the CCA cannot assure that every electron that enters your house is "green", they have purchased carbon free and renewable power to cover the consumption of their customers.

This "scheme" was started by California State law, which is why it has automatic enrollment and billing through PG&E. PG&E has always separated the Generation from the other items in the tariffs and the CCAs are just replacing the Generation portion of the PG&E billing. Over time we may see the CCAs open up a bigger differential and save their customers more money once we can get the PUC to eliminate or drastically reduce the underhanded PCIA fee that is justified by PG&E's overpriced long term power purchase contracts.
My son used to live in Santa Clara. Power bill was a topic then. Discovered who his provider was as the bill was ridiculously cheap.
I called to provider. Yep, a city or county provider, not PG&E for sure. And, the biggest difference is this entity owns everything, all the power lines, poles, etc. PG&E is totally out of the picture.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,249
415
95762
Could happen but I’m not going to spend much time thinking about it. All kinds of crap can happen without our consent. That’s life. By installing our solar/PWs we have a greater degree of control for now and at our house we have had days with no grid usage (just got our first partial bill). And being part of SVCE saves us more on what we do use from the grid and helps provide some funding to communities to install public chargers. I’m sure State and Federal money went into the cost of the infrastructure and tax breaks were given so doubt PG&E paid for all of the infrastructure and certainly rate payers in communities have contributed in mass as well, so I can see how critical infrastructure lines need to be shared but best maintained by one entity hopefully working in the public’s best interest.

Now of course there’s the cost of our equipment to consider that we own as a solar generator ourselves. Not everyone can or will install solar and or battery back up just like suddenly there won’t be ICE vehicles on the road. Suppose it’s not unlike the phone company having to share their lines with other telecoms or gas companies sharing their delivery system with other gas providers.

Getting back to the topic PG&E simply has a different structure than an CCA so whatever works best for the homeowner is the way to go.

Yes, agree.
For the record, I have 40 panels (non-Tesla), 3 PWs, 1 EV, 1 Hybrid. Doing my part, but stuck with PG&E
 

mbp11

Member
Jan 30, 2019
402
218
SF Bay Area
I have been following this thread and I echo the sentiment, I have no idea what is going on when I get my PG&E bills and have not found anyone to explain it. I have the mandatory EV rate, I have 14 solar panels on my little house, a whole house battery (non Tesla), and a hybrid and a Model X. I charge at night to use the lower PG&E rate, just to top off my battery (because my charge rate is so slow). Every bill I get says I owe no money but my "True Up" charges are increasing at a rate of $100 a month, so I prepay that to keep the True Up the same as the credit. In the summer I generate about 24-26 KWH per day and in the winter abut 14 KWH per day. Usually during the day about 1/3 of my production goes to the grid. Imagine my bill for the EV if I did not have solar?

My other problem is that I would like to add more solar panels on the other, westward, side of my house, to boost my production in the afternoon. The solar panels are made by Enphase and both the solar controller and the battery controller are connected to the internet for real-time reporting. However the original installer, PetersenDean, is in bankruptcy and is no longer responding to phone calls, messages, and their web site says they are not accepting solar installations at this time. Supposedly I still have a warranty with Enphase and Sunverge (the battery) but what would happen to the warranty if another installer came in and installed more solar panels?
 

MJ_CA_2019

Member
Aug 19, 2020
139
34
Central CA
A bit off topic but for those PG&E customers with PWs: Have you found a way to get those huge monthly detailed bills electronically vs paper?

I'm on the line with PG&E talking about issues with my bill and my service agent told me that many of the online usage / reporting features don't work with "Complex Billing". I'm on ETOUBRB/NEMPS due to having 3 PW and Solar.

So I don't think they will let you go paperless in this situation. The "Black and White" bill is where you get the details.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,267
5,897
Los Altos, CA
I'm on the line with PG&E talking about issues with my bill and my service agent told me that many of the online usage / reporting features don't work with "Complex Billing". I'm on ETOUBRB/NEMPS due to having 3 PW and Solar.

So I don't think they will let you go paperless in this situation. The "Black and White" bill is where you get the details.
You can call the Solar department and they can stop sending the paper Black and White bill. You can download a PDF version of it in your account, but it's hidden in the "My Accounts & Services" section in the top bar pulldown after you log in to pge.com.
 

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