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PGE is Feeding me Bullsh*t and Calling it Caviar

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 11/15/2007 in
Updated 11/15/2007
PGE bullcrap

Edit 6/12/08 – this article is pretty negative towards PG&E.  Since then I have grown to like them quite a bit.  They work closely with the solar industry and even train citizens on the basics of solar energy at the awesome PG&E energy center that they didn’t have to build.  They go above and beyond the call of duty in a lot of spaces that they don’t have to with respect to renewable energy.  No, they did not pay me to say this and yes I’m leaving the article below as is….. but just respect that they are a for-profit company and that the E7 rate was actually a money loser for them.  They had no choice.  The PR spin on it is a little hard to swallow, but it’s just business.

I mean, go to Idaho and see if their utility company trains it’s local citizens on how to give power point presentations on renewable energy basics, or interconnects their new bi-directional meters for free.

Couple days ago PGE sent a notice out to it’s Vendors saying it’s getting rid of the E7 Time of Use Rate Schedule and replacing it with the new E6. They are calling the E6 schedule “solar friendly….”

the EL-6/E-6 rate schedules have a shoulder peak, which means solar generators that are producing electricity in the morning have that electricity valued at a higher part-peak rate, instead of EL-7/E-7’s off-peak rates. While no rate will be perfect for every customer, the revised EL-6/E-6 rate schedules effective in 2008 were specifically designed with solar customers in mind”

So what does this mean simply? Well, the E7 schedule is (was) simple and sweet. During the times when the sun shines, PGE pays solar customers about 4 times as much for their power (noon-six). Pretty rad if you’re a solar customer, right?

But the change to E6 is infinitely more complicated in an overzealous attempt to appear optimized for solar installers. In the summer I think it actually is a little better (and I’m not 100% sure, and it would vary by scenario). Customers may actually eek out a little extra credits in summer with E6 over E7. But take a look at Winter. The peak period disappears. Now instead of making 4X times your money every workday noon-6, instead you get a “partial peak that pays like 1.5X and it’s when the sun isn’t even shining anyway (because it’s winter and the sun doesn’t shine during the ‘partial peak period’ of 5PM to 8PM ANYWAY).

The result? Solar power customers get the stiff one-eye in the winter.

PG&E is a utility. A business. I don’t have a problem with them trying to stay profitable, but don’t outright lie about how the new “solar friendly” E6 schedule is better for solar customers than the E7 schedule you’re dropping. They don’t overtly say that exact sentence, they just imply it exceedingly CONVINCINGLY the general public who has no idea (I’ve studied power rates for hours and even I’M fuzzy…), that it’s in their best interest. It’s not.

It’s designed to save them money from the growing number of solar installations that are going down because of the juicey California Solar Initiative. I wish they’d just tell it like it is.

Last modified: November 15, 2007

15 thoughts on “PGE is Feeding me Bullsh*t and Calling it Caviar

  1. Avatar for dennis dennis says:

    PG&E stands for Pacific Graft and Extortion!

  2. Avatar for Steven Schoch Steven Schoch says:

    Fortunately, we have E-7 because our house already had a TOU meter when we bought it in 1996. We just had a solar system with 20 panels (and Enphase micro-inverters) installed. PG&E is going to replace our old TOU meter with a net-capable meter (the current one only runs forwards).

    Here is an email I just got from PG&E:

    “We are in the middle of processing your application and are waiting for a response from the solar contractor in regards to some application discrepancies. We are also waiting for a rate processing fee. The fee is $228 to stay on the E7 rate.”

    What! Now they want more money in order to keep me on a rate that I’m already on?!

  3. Avatar for Steve Steve says:

    Just recieved my first Net Energy Metering Electric Statement, from all these posts, I still don’t see a “bottom line” as to which is better, E7 or E1? My schedule says E6XB/NEMS, haven’t seen any mention of this rate schedule here. Any suggestions?? IS this the best schedule to be one? This is for a residential 5.8KW system.

  4. Avatar for Ron Russell Ron Russell says:

    Totally confussed. Sounds expensive at age 76 do not feel the cost is worth the savings? I agree PSE’ billing sucks. My rate is 27E, thia ia the same as ElecSch-007. Sop they say. Good luck.

  5. Avatar for Francois Francois says:

    Is PG&E or against individual solar “power plants”? You be the judge:
    1) I’ve had E7 for over 5 years (after hours on the phone with various customer “support” agents). It took a call to the Utility Commission to get PG&E to honor what they had told me.
    2) The PG&E report (format and content) is simply incomprehensible — and I’ve tried hours on end with Excel. I may not be a rocket scientist, but I have two masters degrees, scientific and financial… PG&E has the resources to present it in a simpler way.
    3) No smart-meter for *you*. They put one on my gas line, but when I asked about the E7 “bi-directional” meter, they said no-can-do. See 2 above. Fortunately, some companies now sell do-it-yourself monitoring devices for a few hundred dollars. But of course, I have no way to translate that into $rate/minute information since only PG&E has that info. See 2 above again.
    4) All producers of energy can find buyers (ethanol, bio-diesel, etc.). All sources of energy have monetary value. Except if you produce electricity. Could it have anything to do with having only one buyer?
    5) SoCal Edison quote: we are in the power distribution business, not power production. The explanation might be in that quote, anyone?

  6. Avatar for Smutty Smutty says:

    Is there a way I can get PG&E to pay for the excess power I produce from my system? I consume less then I produce and would like to see about getting a credit for it.

  7. Avatar for Paul Paul says:

    Hey Jim..What did the screen labeled 99 read? That is the instantaneous screen which gives the total net at the meter in Kwatts..Was it recieving or delivering during those 4 hours. If the meter is recieving from you, there will be a – sign in front of the instant read. If not, then the meter is geting energy delivered to you IE..you are using more than whats being produced. Your solor shows total delivered out from the inverter, but does not take into account what the house is using.

  8. Avatar for Jim Jim says:

    I’ve had a system for 14 months now and just discovered that the TOU bi-directional meter that PG&E put on my house is NOT bi-directional i.e. during peak one weekday, I tracked the number on the meter. For 4 hours, my solar put out to the net an average of 2.7Kw each hour (as indicated on the PG&E meter itself), leading to over 10Kw total for that time period. How much did the peak number on my meter change? Not one digit. It stayed exactly on 50121 the entire 4 hours. The fifth hour, when I started to consume more than I produced (as indicated on the PG&E meter), it immediately went to 50122. A PG&E representative will be here next week to check it out, but is there any advice in the meantime? I’ve been sending electricity to PG&E for over a year now with no credit…

  9. Avatar for Paul Paul says:

    Belay my last. I just found that E7 did have peak rates greatly reduced in the winter…

  10. Avatar for Paul Paul says:

    I may be mistaken, but the E7 was seasonal just like the E6 is. But with partial peak in the winter and weekends in summer with E6, you are still producing 1.5 x over off peak. E7 went off peak completely from Oct (Nov?) to June, not to mention the weekends in summer were completly off peak on E7. Also, peak on E7 was noon to six. Then off all other times. On E6, you start generating at part peak from 10 to 1, then peak from 1 to 7. With longer days in summer, seems like E6 is a better deal for solar to me then E7 was. At least thats the way I see it.

  11. Avatar for Solar guy Solar guy says:

    We need to get together and reinstate the E7 rating! We need to get organized and talk to Arnold! The CPUC has not once responded to my repeated letters about this subject!

  12. Avatar for Solar guy Solar guy says:

    All of this is obvious. PG&E loses much more money with the E-7 rating. That is why they got rid of it. Bill Brooks is spewing out at all of his classes and meetings that E-7 is worse than E-1. I called him an idiot. He spewed out his credentials. He is obviously getting paid by PG&E to spread the bullshit! Bill Brooks… piss off!

  13. Avatar for Mike Mike says:

    Dave – I am recently up and running with my new 5 KW system(reserved my spot in late 07) and got an E6 meter. I know, that sucks, but I am keeping fingers crossed on getting an E7 slot by June. Nevertheless…can you summarize for me what my usage strategy should be for the winter on E6? Seems to me there is no peak, and I should just avoid heavy use between 5-8 pm weekdays?? What rate am I being credited at when I’ve been cranking out 25-30 Kw per day? Thanks, U Rock.

  14. Avatar for Melinda Melinda says:

    Just so you know, PGE and PG&E are 2 different companies. Up here at PGE, solar customers on Time of Use still score big time on their bills! :-D

  15. Avatar for Dan Dan says:

    Thanks for pointing out the reality behind the E6 meter vs E7. I made sure I got an E7 meter with my solar installation. I’m not sure I’d have done it if I could only get an E6. Let’s face it, PG&E, while putting on a face of greenness, is still in business to make money. Nothing wrong with that at all. But pushing the E6 as more solar friendly is just untrue. I wish we could prevent the E7 from being phased out…

    -dan
    http://www.solar4sf.org

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