Gas station without pumps

2016 September 6

PG&E time-of-use Schedule E-6 gone

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:19
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The time-of-use rate schedule for electricity that I’ve been using (the E-6 schedule) is no longer available. It ended 2016 May 31, but those of us who already had it will be grandfathered in for a few years, but transitioned out of it by 2022.

E-6 was a good rate schedule for customers with solar panels. Under E-6, summer peak electricity is 34.159¢/kWh, but summer off-peak is only 14.854¢/kWh.  Winter part-peak is 17.071¢/kWh, and off-peak is 15.388¢/kWh. Note that the summer time fluctuation in rate is a factor of 2.3, so generating during peak times (which solar power does) and using electricity at night (which we do) results in substantial financial benefit, even when net usage is near 0.

The available time-of-use schedules now are much less favorable to the customer, especially to net-energy-metering customers.  ETOU-A has only 5–25% price differentials, and ETOU-B has only 10–30% price differentials, so the incentive to time-shift usage is tiny compared to E-6. The peak prices are about the same as under E-6, but the off-peak prices don’t drop nearly as much.

ETOU-A has higher rates 3pm–8pm weekdays, while ETOU-B has higher rates 4pm–9pm weekdays.  The summer/winter difference is only a change in the rates for the two time periods, not in when the higher charges apply (unlike the more complicated E-6 schedule, which has 4 time periods on weekdays, 2 on weekends in summer, and 2 on weekdays, 2 on weekends in winter. Winter is October–May for the ETOU schedules, but November–April for E-6. Because May is a month with high solar output, it is better for me to have it at summer prices.

The ETOU-A schedule has low rates up to a baseline amount, then somewhat higher rates.  Because of net-energy metering, I would nearly always be at the lower rate, which would be good for buying electricity, but is terrible for getting credit for energy I’m selling them.  The lowest rate on the ETOU-A plan

I’m certain that the E-6 schedule is much better for me than the new ETOU-A and ETOU-B schedules, but I don’t know by how much. PG&E has a rate-comparison tool that compares what bills one would pay with one’s current rate or any of the available alternatives. Of course, it does not work with E-6 plus net-energy metering—not only does it not work, with that rate schedule, but it then refuses to show what the bills would be with any other rate schedule—customers are left trying to calculate this themselves, which is unfair, because PG&E has all the data about how much electricity the customer used at different times, but the customer does not, and PG&E does not make access to the information easy.

When the time-of-use rate schedule changes in a few years, I suspect that my break-even time for the investment in solar panels will stretch out even further.


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