As a commercial electricity customer of PG&E, we were all automatically enrolled in a program called Peak Day Pricing (PDP) last November 2017. We had the choice to opt out but most of us did not because everything was guaranteed not to cost us any money. Since the pricing effects didn’t take effect until the Summer Season, which for PG&E starts May 1, we are probably wondering why we got a bill with some undescribed charges on it we got in May and then June. PG&E was not forthcoming with details on their billing. Several of us wanted to know why we are getting a bill when we have generation credit. Actually, the answers are as confusing as the questions because of the way PG&E is rolling out and implementing the program. To make matters worse, we were all guaranteed that this program would not cost us any money, but now we are writing checks and wondering if PG&E is going to be sending us back checks later.
Since all of this is a very small part of our bill and it complicates our billing in a very big way, I am suggesting to all our customers to call 1-877-743-4112 with your PG&E Account ID and opt out of the PDP program. At that time, you can ask for the amount of your built-up PDP credit and this will help you pay the amount they are asking for these first few months. You can also do this online, but I like the sound of a friendly expert on the line helping me Opt Out and giving me the amount of the credit, I will be seeing in a few months. They can also answer any of your Net Energy Metering (NEM) questions you can think of at the same time. You can also go to https://www.pge.com/en_US/business/rate-plans/rate-plans/peak-day-pricing/peak-day-pricing.page but it is a lot of information about a subject that has nothing to do with your core business and will not help you increase your bottom line.
The purpose of the PDP program is to encourage voluntary conservation of electricity by PG&E customers on high electricity use days. A small discount is given to all customers on their Summer Peak Rates (which means you have less credit to your NEM account if you overproduce) that are enrolled in the PDP program. Any time they think the temperature of five average cities they have chosen will reach 96 degrees, they send out a notification (based on several options you were given) that tomorrow will be an event day. On Event Days, of which there can be up to 15 per year, there will be a $1.20 per kWh charge during the Peak time, Noon to 6 PM. Since I cannot think of one customer who wants to close up their business just because it is hot outside, you will all be paying a very high rate during these 15 days a year (although a solar over-generator is supposed to get credit at this high rate). At the time the program was introduced to you, it was said you will have a one-year guarantee that the program will not cost you more than you would have otherwise paid. I for one do not want to incur all the accounting time it will take to prove one way or the other whether it cost or saved me money. What I do know is that instead of paying just a monthly meter charge, I have been asked to pay a noticeable amount, and since I have been running a credit, I don’t like paying money today to maybe get back later, with the amount of the payback in question and only confirmed with lengthy accounting computations. If you all opt out now, you will get a check back within a few months that will be equal or greater to what you have been asked to pay in.
As typical with PG&E billing, all of this is being rolled out without any explanation or even adequate description on the bill itself. We all received our monthly bill with a charge that was not explained in any way whatsoever. Then, two weeks later I received the “This is not a bill” NEM description that comes out every month, with the same amount shown here again, with PDP charges and credits, but with inadequate descriptions for each that just led to more confusion. Personally, I think the entire program will be this way, which is why I feel the way I do about it. However, that paper had a phone number, 1-877-743-4112, which I called and had a very good conversation with a qualified PG&E representative and he answered all my questions and opted me out of the program and solidified my stance on the subject.
The PDP program complicates an already complicated billing system used by PG&E and in my opinion is not worth the accounting it will take to see if you made or saved any money by being enrolled. Since things like rates and your usage are always changing, what may save you or earn you a little one year may not the next. Once the guarantee is lifted after one year, (again, how are we going to be sure it didn’t cost us more), we are voluntarily enrolled in a program that may be costing us money. Therefore, I recommend you call PG&E at 1-877-743-4112 with your PG&E Account ID and opt out of the PDP program. You will talk with a polite expert and avoid a non-productive accounting problem in the future. Either way, the pricing is designed to even out, but only if you conserve on the “Event Days”. If you can’t reduce your usage on days it is hot outside (which means your usage will likely be higher already), it is designed to cost you money.