Tag Archives | PG&E

PGE rate Hikes

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For those who are “paying” attention to the small inserts in their Pacific Gas and Electric bill, the rate for residential electricity has gone up again.

PGE rate Hikes

No surprise as this has been happening for the past 30 years. Based on my calculations I have seen the price of electricity go up on average 6% per year. Some years it has gone down, some years it has spiked, but on average 6% has been seen.

The brunt of the rate increases happen in tier 3,4,5 to penalize the heavy electricity users and in theory promote conservation.  Now there hasnt always been a tier structure. Before the Partial deregulation there was only a baseline and above baseline. Take a chance to educate yourself on that fyasco

The Smartest Guys in the Room

Here is a quick breakdown of what has happen over the past decade

tier charts

As you can see tier 1,2 have stayed relatively flat, but tier 3,4,5 have gone up significantly, perhaps even higher than 6% per year, yikes!

As of May 1st, PG&E strikes again, the rates have gone up for electricity for residential users. It seems very marginal because it is only $.01 in tiers 4,5 per kWh, but that adds up. Please follow along:

Lets assume that the State of California’s given load 30,000 mWh on average, thus in one day California consumes 720,000 mW (assumed to be all residential). PGE is the largest (IOU) utility in California. PGE requires roughly 40% of the power demand.

PGE increased the rate of residential power by roughly $.01 in tier 4,5.

Old Rates PGE

These are the old rates from Jan 1st-April 30th 2013

New PGE rates 5-13

These are the new rates as of May 1st 2013

The weighted increase across all tiers would be $.00328 which would equate to $944,640 daily or $344,743,600 annually, wahoo for shareholders of PGE!

This has been happening for decades, however the rate payers of PGE now have a solution to their  increasing electric bills.

American Solar Direct offers a fixed cost power solution. ASD has a program called “solar made Simple” whereas they give homeowners the ability to generate their own power at a fixed cost off their roof at a price that is generally less then what PG&E is selling it to them now and it doesn’t cost them anything they are not already spending with PG&E today. You simply redirect a portion of the money you are already spending with PG&E into a fixed rate monthly solar investment which allows you to potentially save money out of the gate. It is an unprecended oppertunity to get out from underneath the Investor Owned Utility and the never ending rate hikes.

If you are interested in finding out how much your roof is worth , please feel free to contact me Direct at the link below. I will contact you within 24 hours and set up a time to go over the economics that apply to your roof top. You may qualify for a free solar electric system for your home

Free Quote click here

Net Metering in California benefits ratepayers!

The results are in: Net Metering in California benefits ratepayers! Vote Solar funded consulting firm Crossborder Energy to conduct an in-depth analysis of the costs and benefits of net metering to the ratepayers of the three California IOUs, using a CPUC-approved economic model. The study concludes that net metering’s benefits to the ratepayers of those utilities outweigh the costs: the benefits to ratepayers in SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E territories will total more than $90 million every year by the time the state’s net metering program is fully subscribed at 5% of peak demand.

Impacts of Net Metering in California

Impacts of Net Metering in California

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Net Metering in California and a solar lease is the best way to offset rising electricity costs! Contact Solar Joey 24/7 about getting setup and solar lease financing. Feel free to get started today with a solar energy quote.


California Utilities Say Solar Raises Costs for Non-Users

Booming rooftop solar installations in California are bringing an unwelcome surprise to the homes and businesses that don’t have the devices: an extra $1.3 billion added to their annual bills.

Power companies in the biggest U.S. solar state are required to buy electricity from home solar generators at the same price they resell it to other customers, meaning utilities earn nothing to cover their fixed costs. The rules are short- sighted because eventually rates must be raised to make up the difference, according to Southern California Edison, which has joined with competitors to estimate potential losses.

As more homes and warehouses get covered in solar panels, higher rates imposed on traditional consumers risk a growing conflict between renewable-energy advocates and power companies that foresee a backlash in California and 42 other states with similar policies. The tension has also emerged in countries including Spain and Germany, where solar investments are curbing investment in the power grid.

“You get into a situation where you have a transmission and distribution system with nobody paying for it,” said Akbar Jazayeri, vice president of regulatory operations at Edison, a unit of Edison International (EIX) and California’s second-largest electric utility.

To deter losses as solar abounds, states typically set a cap on the amount of photovoltaic power utilities must buy under so-called net-metering policies. Those allow a meter to run backward during the hours a day when a home or business is selling the power to the utility. California’s limit is 5 percent of a utility’s aggregate peak load.

California Public Utilities Commission Seal

California Public Utilities Commission Seal

New Customers

About 20,000 customers of San Diego Gas & Electric had connected 146 megawatts of solar panels to its grid as of Nov. 1, accounting for 1.2 percent of its peak load. The company is adding 409 new net-metering customers a month, said Stephanie Donovan, a spokeswoman for the state’s third-largest utility.

SDG&E currently can’t collect about $18 million to $20 million a year in grid costs from customers with rooftop solar panels, according to Dan Skopec, vice president of regulatory affairs for San Diego-based Sempra Energy (SRE), the utility’s owner.

The utility will be shifting about $200 million in annual costs to customers without panels when the state reaches its cap, Skopec said in an interview. Solar customers “avoid charges, not just for energy, but also the costs of the transmission and distribution system,” he said. “That’s why we say it is not sustainable.”

Passing Costs

Southern California Edison will transfer about $400 million in annual costs to people without solar systems when the state hits the cap, David Song, a spokesman, said in an interview. PG&E Corp. (PCG)’s Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s biggest utility, will pass on about $700 million a year, according to Denny Boyles, a spokesman, for a total of $1.3 billion from the three utilities.

That’s about 3.9 percent of the $33.5 billion spent on electricity in 2010 in California, based on the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Department.

“The problem exacerbates with each new system that goes on a roof,” Mark Bachman, an analyst at Boston-based Avian Securities Inc., said in an interview. “Utilities will need to get reimbursed for their grid costs by a shrinking number of consumers.”

California utility customers installed 245 megawatts of solar panels in 2011 and have already added more than 315 megawatts this year, according to the California Solar Initiative, a state program to encourage rooftop energy systems.

Solar Growth

Installations of U.S. residential and commercial solar systems totaled about 1,050 megawatts in the first three quarters of the year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, compared with about 1,100 for all of 2011.

SolarCity Corp. (SCTY), which installs and owns rooftop solar systems, has gained 49 percent since its Dec. 12 initial public offering. The San Mateo, California-based company has built solar power systems on more than 45,000 U.S. building, and its home state is its largest market, according to its website.

Growing demand for rooftop solar has been driven, in part, by net metering, said Eran Mahrer, vice president of utility strategy at the Washington-based Solar Electric Power Association.

The policy “has been the most important tool,” he said in an interview. “There’s a lot of debate about what is fair. The caps provide a checkpoint where regulators and utilities can stop and revisit the effects.”

Raising Caps

The growth is also driving efforts to raise net-metering caps. California revised the way it calculates its limit in May, effectively doubling to about 5 gigawatts the amount of solar energy that state utilities will eventually be required purchase.

California utilities oppose efforts to expand net-metering programs. Solar customers, who typically sell power to the grid when the sun is shining and use the income to offset charges for using electricity at night or on cloudy days, “are just using our system as a storage device,” said Jazayeri. “They should pay something for that service.”

So far, regulators haven’t been sympathetic to utilities’ complaints about rooftop solar power. The California Public Utilities Commissionrejected in January San Diego Gas’s request to impose a “network use charge” that would have added a fee to customers with rooftop solar panels.

Easing Stress

And solar developers say rooftop systems actually benefit the power grid by providing power during the hottest parts of the day. That eases stress on wires and transformers and helps utilities defer maintenance and upgrades, said Todd Pedersen, chief executive officer of Blackstone Group LP’s Vivint Inc., which installs residential solar.

“We need an honest cost-benefit analysis of adding distributed solar to the grid,” Pedersen said in an interview in New York. “It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve this now because I see no signs of slowing as solar becomes cheaper than the utilities in most states.”

In New Jersey, the second-largest solar state, utilities had connected 689 megawatts of net-metered solar power to the grid as of Aug. 31, about 3.6 percent of the state’s 19,000 megawatts of peak demand.

That exceeds the state’s 2.5 percent limit, so regulators may now authorize utilities to stop accepting requests for grid connections. They haven’t yet, partly because New Jersey power companies are required to get 4.1 percent of their electricity from sunlight in 2027 and promoting rooftop solar through net- metering programs will help them reach that goal even if it reduces revenue, the agency said in an e-mail.

German Backlash

People in other countries are protesting higher rates stemming from net-metering programs. In Germany, the world’s largest market,Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a backlash against higher power bills related to renewable energy. Grid fees will boost household bills an average of 10 percent next year, according to industry analyst Verivox.

Permitting net-metering programs to grow indefinitely is “not sustainable,” said California State Assemblyman Steven Bradford, who represents Los Angeles. He wrote legislation that was approved in August requiring the state to conduct a detailed study on the economic impact of rooftop panels before making any additional changes to the cap. He expects the study to show net metering has a negative impact on utilities and customers who don’t have solar systems.

“You can’t purchase wholesale power at retail prices and not affect your bottom line,” Bradford said in an interview. “Utilities are seeing it already.”

He said rooftop solar is becoming a significant burden to both utilities and consumers, especially the poor who can’t install panels. “Additional costs — and we’re talking about $1 billion in the aggregate — will disproportionately hit people on fixed incomes.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net; Mark Chediak in San Francisco atmchediak@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

PG&E Gets Approval To Raise Your Rates

PG&E customers don’t get let these rate hikes effect you!
Contact Solar Joey 24/7 about getting setup and solar lease financing.
Feel free to get started today with a solar energy quote.

PG&E officials won approval from state regulators on Thursday to seek about $395 million from customers through rate increases this year, but rates will not go up until the beginning of 2012, a company spokeswoman said today.

As part of a settlement between PG&E and several advocacy groups, the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco approved PG&E to seek rate increases for this year, 2012 and 2013.

But rates will not increase this year because the utility giant’s revenues are already meeting the additional $395 million that was requested, PG&E spokeswoman Christine Cordner said.

With the adjusted increase, PG&E is seeking a total of $5.9 billion in customer rates this year, Cordner said.

Beginning in January 2012, PG&E will begin seeking an additional $180 million on top of the $395 million requested for 2011, bringing the total to just over $6 billion in total rates sought. PG&E has been approved to charge another $185 million in rate increases in 2013, bringing the total to nearly $6.3 billion, according to Cordner. The increases were part of a general rate case submitted by PG&E for CPUC approval every three years. The increases were approved as part of phase 1 of the rate case. Phase 2 of the case will be heard on May 26, and will include commissioners deciding on a disputed proposal by PG&E to levy a $3 flat fee on all of its residential customers.

“We’ve proposed these changes because we want customers to pay closer to what it costs to serve them,” Cordner said.

In PG&E’s current payment scheme, residents who conserve energy or live in smaller dwellings are legally protected from the rate increases that are levied on customers nearly every year, she said.

In San Francisco, for example: if a person lives in a studio, one bedroom, or small house, they likely will not be charged more than 12 or 14 cents per kilowatt-hour even if rates increase, Cordner said.

“PG&E is legally bound from charging them more,” she said. “So the people who are incurring rate increases are essentially covering the cost of service for those customers who PG&E can’t charge.”

PG&E Gets Approval To Raise Your Rates

But if approved, the $3 flat fee would also apply to people who were potentially out of town or not using any energy at all. “We’re very much opposed to that,” said Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for The Utility Reform Network, a ratepayer advocacy group. “That’s $3 we don’t think they should have,” she said.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

PG&E rate plan increase could hike up prices 15.6% typically

If you have any questions about how to protect yourself from these rate hikes please contact Solar Joey and or get started with your free consultation today!

PG&E’s latest filing is part of “general rate case,” a regulatory process that sets the basic blueprint for utility rates over a three-year period. In this instance, the general rate case would shape utility bills from January 2014 through December 2016.

If the utilities commission approves the filing, the typical homeowner’s monthly electricity bill will rise $4.64 in 2014 to $94.37, while the average residential gas bill will climb $6.67 to $52.80 per month. Further increases would follow in 2015 and 2016, bringing the average monthly electric bill to $98.95 and the average gas bill to $58.15. Together, the combined bill of $157.10 would be 15.6 percent higher than the current average residential combined bill, which is $135.86.

Anthony Earley

PG&E’s CEO, Anthony Earley during a press conference at PG&E headquarters in San Francisco last December. The company has asked California regulators to raise a typical homeowner’s monthly bill 15.6 percent by 2016.

Multiple requests

The increase would be greater if the utilities commission also approves PG&E’s other rate proposals.

In 2014, for example, the general rate case alone would raise the average monthly residential bill by $11.31, when gas and electricity are combined. The $2.2 billion gas pipeline proposal would add $2 more, according to the company. An extra $1.70 would come from the $539.5 million request to pay for renewable power and other electricity generation. In total, instead of $11.31, homeowners would pay $15.01 more per month in 2014 than they do today. The general rate case would continue to impact customer rates through 2016.

If history is any guide, PG&E probably won’t get all the money.

While the utilities commission seldom rejects rate-hike requests outright, it typically gives utilities less than they want, sometimes much less. In its last general rate case, PG&E asked for a revenue increase of $4.2 billion, spread over three years. The commission approved $1.9 billion. In 2009, the company proposed spending $2.05 billion to fight blackouts on its electricity grid. The commission approved $366.6 million.

PG&E’s new general rate case will receive more scrutiny than the last. For the first time, the utilities commission will hire independent analysts to study the proposal in depth.

“They, like us, are concerned about making sure the system is safe going forward, so they wanted an independent review,” Bottorff said.

David R. Baker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/PG-E-rate-plan-would-cost-15-6-more-typically-3680344.php#ixzz2BknmSrOU


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/PG-E-rate-plan-would-cost-15-6-more-typically-3680344.php#ixzz2Bkn5lv7p

California weighs innovative community solar bill

Rooftop solar power is growing like crazy in California. But there’s a big problem: About 44 percent of California residents are renters, not homeowners. That means that nearly half the residents of the state can’t purchase solar-generated electricity even if they want to.

California weighs innovative community solar billNow the solar industry, utilities, environmentalists, financiers and legislative staffers in Sacramento are hashing out an innovative but controversial Senate bill that would allow people to join forces and collectively “buy” solar power from a shared facility.

The bill covers other forms of renewable energy, including wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydropower. But solar panels, which have seen a dramatic drop in price in recent years, are expected to make up the lion’s share of new projects. Senate Bill 843 aims to bring an additional 2 gigawatts of renewable energy online within the territories of the state’s three largest utilities: PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Two gigawatts is nothing to sneeze at: One gigawatt is roughly the output of two coal-fired power plants and is enough energy to power 750,000 homes.

The bill would allow customers of the three utilities to “buy” renewable energy from, say, a solar array on the roof of a church, in the field of the local high school or at City Hall.

Customers would sign contracts with the developers of the solar projects and pay a monthly fee for the energy they buy. In exchange, they would become “subscribers” of the project and receive a credit for their portion of the energy produced on their monthly utility bill.

Democrat Lois Wolk, whose 5th Senate District includes the city of Davis, is sponsoring the bill, which is winding its way through the Legislature. The concept is of great interest to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made expanding access to “distributed generation” solar projects in urban areas a key platform of his energy agenda. The Assembly Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill Aug. 16.

California weighs innovative community solar bill

SB 843 (Wolk) Community Based Self Generation Structure

“This is the next step in terms of making solar available to the largest number of people possible, including small businesses who lease their buildings, renters and people who live in apartments,” Wolk said in an interview. “In a collective and cooperative way, it allows people to take advantage of economies of scale.”

But the state’s three large utilities, as well as staff at the California Public Utilities Commission, have expressed reservations about the bill and are suggesting several amendments. One of the chief concerns is that utility customers who don’t participate in the proposed program will effectively be subsidizing those who do because of the additional costs associated with bringing more renewables onto the electric grid.

Utilities are already under enormous pressure to buy 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but the 2 gigawatts resulting from the bill would not count toward that goal. The three large utilities argue that the proposed program should apply to all utilities in the state, including municipal utilities in cities like Alameda, Palo Alto and Santa Clara. And some warn that the bill is far too complex and would be a nightmare for state regulators to fairly administer.

Southern California Edison is firmly opposed to the bill. San Diego Gas & Electric generally support it but have proposed amendments. PG&E and a legislative committee of the CPUC both oppose the bill unless it is amended. A lot of negotiating is going on.

“PG&E strongly supports renewable energy, as well as additional renewable energy options for our customers,” said David Rubin, director of service analysis at PG&E. “However, our key concern with this bill is that it creates a significant additional procurement obligation — at prices that exceed the value we are getting on behalf of all of our customers.”

Among those actively lobbying on behalf of the bill is California Interfaith Power and Light, a coalition of religious groups responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The group has 560 member congregations throughout the state.

“Many members of our congregations want renewable energy because it’s the moral thing to do,” said Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest in San Francisco and the organization’s founder. “It would be great to have a huge solar array on a big mega church, and then allow all of the members of the church to access that energy from the sun.”

Tom Price, director of policy for CleanPath Ventures, a San Francisco-based renewable energy fund, has spent months promoting the bill because he wants to broaden access to solar. His interest was sparked when he was renting an apartment in San Francisco but couldn’t install solar panels because his landlord didn’t want them.

“The problem with solar is that you have to be a rich homeowner with excellent credit and a lot of equity in your home,” said Price, who currently rents a home in Berkeley that does not have solar panels. “You also have to have a roof that faces south and isn’t shaded by trees. The vast majority of Californians don’t fall into this category. It’s a monstrous market failure.”

California, where just 55 percent of residents own their homes, has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country, according to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationally, the homeownership rate is 66.1 percent.

Even some homeowners have been frustrated by road blocks to solar. David Ginsborg, a deputy to Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, owns a townhouse in a 12-unit complex in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose. Ginsborg serves on the board of his homeowners association and looked into putting solar panels on the roof of the buildings, with the idea that the homeowners association would incur the debt. But solar installers basically told him that it couldn’t be done because of legal and logistical hurdles around metering and billing for a system on a shared roof.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” he said. “Why shouldn’t a homeowners association go solar? If we wanted to pave the street or build a swimming pool, we can incur debt for that. But we can’t go solar. It’s outrageous when you think of it. There are 80,000 condominiums and townhouses in Santa Clara County — that’s 25 percent of all homeowners.”

Trackback: Mercury News


U.S. solar market spikes in second quarter

Solar installations spiked in the second quarter of this year as large solar power plants came online, according to a report released Monday by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The amount of photovoltaic solar panels installed across the country reached 742 megawatts in the second quarter, up from 512 megawatts in the first quarter. More solar was installed in the second quarter than in all of 2009.

U.S. solar market spikes in second quarter

U.S. solar market spikes in second quarter

Analysts with GTM Research expect that by year-end, 3,200 megawatts will be installed nationwide. Photovoltaic, or PV, solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity. Installation figures include those on homes and businesses as well as much larger, utility-scale power plants. Much of the growth in the second quarter was fueled by the completion of more than 20 large solar power plant projects in key states like Arizona and California. Utility installations accounted for 477 of the 742 megawatts, while the commercial sector was 196 megawatts and residential was 98 megawatts. California remains the nation’s leading market, with 217 megawatts installed in the second quarter, followed by Arizona with 173 megawatts.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has a 25-year power purchase agreement to buy electricity from First Solar’s 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project currently under construction in Yuma County, Ariz. First Solar announced Monday that 250 megawatts are now connected to the grid, and the full plant should be finished in 2014. When complete, Agua Calinete should displace more than 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years, the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road each year.