New tariff model to help PG&E expand clean energy portfolio 12 JANUARY 2018

US utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will this April start piloting a Time of Use (ToU) energy tariff model.

The pilot will include 150,000 consumers, will increase energy tariff options for energy users and help PG&E customers improve their energy management.

The ToU energy tariff model will help the energy provider to stabilise the grid network during times when demand is high due to decreases in renewable energy generation as the utility seeks to completely retire from conventional energy generation.

PG&E says using renewable energy resources will help improve customer services as consumer bills will be more affordable.

The pilot is a multi-year initiative and will be implemented in phases. The results of the pilot will be used by PG&E and the California Public Service Commission to implement the ToU energy tariff model at full scale in late 2019 or late 2020.

Shift to new energy tariff model

Consumers participating in the pilot were randomly selected and will be notified by mail. Electricity prices will be high during peak periods (between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m) and vise versa when demand is low. The tariff model aims to shift heavy consumer energy use to times when demand is low, for instance running the dishwasher or doing laundry during off-peak hours.

However, in the first year/phase of the pilot, PG&E will offer participating customers a bill protection. This means if customers pay more than they would have on their former rate plan, PG&E will credit them with the difference. The bill protection aims to allow customers to try the new ToU plan risk-free

PG%E will provide:

  • Personalised rate comparisons for customers to compare available rates and choose a plan.
  • Tools and programmes such as Budget Billing and Energy Alerts, as well as seasonal communications and tips, to help customers manage energy use and stay on budget.
  • Dedicated rate specialists at 1-866-743-7945 to answer questions and help customers choose a rate plan.

“PG&E is committed to working together with our customers to ensure they understand how small shifts in when they use energy can make a big difference for the environment,” said Laurie Giammona, Chief Customer Officer.

“We recognise that customers use energy differently and will provide information and tools to give customers greater control over how they use energy and help them choose the rate plan that best meets their needs.”

Image credit: 123rf.

In 2005 the State of California CPUC ordered PG&E to install Advanced Metering Infrastructure

In 2010 PG&E mailed over 3 million smart meter brochures to its electrical customers describing TOU rates and real time information available to the customers