By now you have probably heard that your business will have to move to new “B” Electric Rates by March 31 of this year, 2021. Since we all know from personal experience that PG&E only makes a move like this if it is going to help them. So what are the new B rates, why are they being implemented and what is it going to cost you?
Siting the rise of renewable energy in their energy mix, PG&E convinced the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to go to this new time of use rate structure. As you might already know, you pay a different rate for your electricity depending on the time of day and time of year. In the past, there were six months of Winter rates, starting in November, and six months of Summer rates, starting in May. From now on, Winter rates will be for 8 months starting in October, and Summer rates will be for four months starting in June. On the surface, this sounds good because Summer rates are always higher than Winter rates, but don’t worry, PG&E has accounted for this in their pricing schemes.
The second major change with the new rates will be the time of day that is considered Peak Power. This will move from Noon to six weekdays to 4 PM to 9 PM seven days a week. There are several slightly different options for this depending on the rate you are put on. Again, this seems good on the surface because Peak rates are historically higher than Partial or Off Peak rates.
The third major change are the rates themselves. PG&E has consistently told its business customers that they can save money on the new rates. Every customer I have checked with has shown a 10 to 15% increase in their electric bill based on their current usage patterns.
You will be put on a new B rate by the end of March, 2021. The rate chosen for you will be based on your demand. Your demand is determined by measuring the highest usage in any 15 minute period during the monthly billing cycle. Here is how that breaks out:
- Less than 75 kW demand, you will have the B-1 or B-6 to choose from.
- More than 75 kW and less than 500kW demand, you will go to the B-10
- More than 500 kW and less than 1000 kW demand, you will go to the B-19
- More than 1000kW demand, you will go to the B-20
These rates are shown on https://www.pge.com/tariffs/index.page
Go to the Electric Rate Schedules and go down to the B Rates.
Now just to add to the confusion, the actual Electric Rate Schedules are shown on a different page, https://www.pge.com/tariffs/electric.shtml#COMMERCIALB This will generate a spreadsheet you can look at to find your rates. The “S” stands for Secondary power, and applies to most of the customers. If you take your power at the “P”, or Prime power voltage, which is either 208 or 480 Volts, and three phase. The P stands for Primary Voltage, which is at 12,000 volts, and you will be aware of this. You will have to own your large transformer on site to take service at this Voltage. The T stands for Transmission Voltage, and you need your own substation in order to take power at this Voltage, so again, you are aware of this.
The real document that you need to be aware of will be your bill. The first bill that will have B rates if they have been applied by mandate by the end of March 2021 will be in May, due to partial months. You can compare this May bill to last year’s bill to see if you are saving money. Click your heals in the air if you do save money, because you are in the vast minority. The rest of us will need to either change our business’s working hours, thermostat settings, or production hours in order to save any money. Since most of our electrical usage patterns are based on the industry we are in, there is not much we can do other than these things in order to save money when being moved to the new B rates.
If you have any questions about these new B Rates, contact us for updated information. We are your experts in the power business.