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PGE rate EV delayed

For many of those in the SF Bay Area whose electricity is provided by PGE, reasonable cost electricity will be available only when the new rate EV takes effect. The PGE web site states that the new rate will become effective in "late spring". I called PGE this morning to inquire, and the representative said the new rate was being delayed until August, and given the repeated delays for the new rate, she thought further delay was possible. She blamed the delay on the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), and encouraged me to file a complaint with the CPUC.

I just filed such a complaint online via www.cpuc.ca.gov. Perhaps if other PGE customers filed similar complaints, we might be heard and get more immediate attention.

Be aware that the the new EV rate may bring cost reduction by a factor of 2 or 3 for charging, depending on your current rate plan and usage pattern. For those of you not in the Bay Area, what we're trying to do is get electricity costs back in the reasonable range, rather than the $0.20 - $0.34 per kWh that many of us are paying.

Be careful what you wish for. The proposed Schedule EV-A charges far more "off peak" (~$0.10/kWh) than the current Schedule E-9A (~$0.04/kWh until you exceed Baseline). The Baseline and "tiers" are eliminated in Schedule EV, which is good, but average rates go up, wiping out most of the advantage.

See this shared Google Spreadsheet which shows that Schedule EV will actually provide very little savings (at least in my case).

Schedule EV still uses the complicated "Daylight Saving Time" adjustment meaning that for a few weeks each year the off-peak period starts at midnight instead of at 11 p.m., a needless complication.

With Schedule EV we all can get charged "peak" rates in the Winter, something that did not exist in Schedule E-9A.

I'm on e9a right now and exceed the baseline in every time period (peak, off peak, and partial peak). Hope this new rate plan reduces complexity and saves me money.

I am also on E9A, and I exceed every baseline as well. Will be very interested to see how a set rate affects my bill. A $0.10/kWh rate for off-peak charging should do this.

BobW - From the spreadsheet you shared, it looks like you are using your rate at all times of the day... if you do that, you definitely won't benefit from the new EV rate. But if you limit charging to off-peak, I would think you will definitely benefit. Am I missing something?

Get solar on top of your house to cut down on beyond base line usage.

If you live in the Bay area E9A strongly incentivizes you to charge at work or at free/low cost public charging stations during the day, thus increasing peak power draw. This is probably not what was intended.

It all depends on how much your average usage is. EV will be less than E9A for a lot of folks but not all.

One thing I do want to point out though is that if you are on the fence about solar panels, E9A should definitely sway you to get them NOW. Makes the ROI on panels VERY attractive (don't bother with PPA or lease deals, finance them yourself with a HELOC if you don't have the cash). I just hope they allow us to keep the E9 rate a bit longer since they keep delaying the EV rate.

@ Create,

Can you elaborate on using HELOC, as opposed to PPA? I don't have the cash (and my beneficial exposure is westerly only!).

E9A users: did you consider E9B? If so, why did you choose E9A?

Thank you!

The choice between E9-A and B and choosing any EV rate, really depends on three things I think – how do you heat your home, how much air conditioning do you use during the summer, and do you have solar. In my case I heat my home with an electric geothermal heat pump (no propane or natural gas) and don’t need AC much because I live in the mountains where it is cooler during the summer. During summer afternoons my solar panels are putting out more than I use and so the high summer afternoon rates are not a problem. For me the very low nighttime EV rates will lower both my charging and winter nighttime heating costs. If, on the other hand, your main use of electricity is AC during the summer and no solar, the higher summer EV rates will kill you and you would likely be better off with a separate meter and E9-B or just stick with E-6 or whatever you have used in the past.

BTW, the EV-9 has some very low nighttime charging rates, but it reminds me of various offers where there is a low introductory price, but after 3 months, the price jumps substantially. The problem is that with much driving at all, you will blow away the baseline, and start paying 21 cents a kWh, not 3.7 cents. When I do switch from E9-A to EV-A it seems at first as if my rates will jump from 3.7 cents to 10 cents for nighttime charging, but in fact that is right back to where I started with E-6 TOU rates that were tiered, except that with the non-tiered EV-A no matter how much I use, the nighttime rate will be the same 10 cents.

Another thing to consider on E9-B is the distance from your main service panel to where you need the plug to be. In my case the cost of running cable for that was too much and instead I was better off adding a few extra panels to my install. Also you need to factor in the mandatory switch to EV-B in a couple years into your situation. If you have solar I think a single meter always makes the most sense.

@EDH AL. With PPA and solar leases those guys are basically financing the deal and making good money while they are at it. Take my example a couple months ago from a prominent installer for a 4.4kW DC system. It was $0 down and $149 a month which was roughly break even for my PG&E bill today but in the 20 years of the PPA the projected savings sounded great.

However, to purchase the system would have been ~$28K, less the federal tax credit it would have been just under $20K. Financing $20K at 5% over 20 years is only $132 per month. So now the PPA did not sound as good. In addition you don't have to deal with the yearly true ups of the PPA if your system performed better or worse than the expected. Please note that they quoted me a high 0.245/kWh cost in the PPA which I believe was due to my not so ideal roof.

In the end I ended up with another company that didn't do leases or PPAs with a 5.67kW DC system for ~$20.5K after the tax credit. So it pays to shop around. The system is currently installed and just waiting for PG&E to give me the go ahead to turn on. Hopefully only another week or 2 as I have had my S60 since 5/4 and I do about 400mi/week and the kW are adding up.

@ create, gee solar panels are seemingly very expensive in the US. In NL I just had a 5.3Kw peak system installed for +- € 9K. Included 6 mono crystalline panels on our sloping roof and 16 poly on a flat roof where they can't be seen. Electricity here is € 0.22 cts peak and € 0.20 cts offpeak. Hardly an incentive to charge at night.

In one month we producec 600 KwHrs with the panels, which I guess is pretty good considering weather & location, etc. Expect to get +- 5 MwHrs per year. Tesla should use +- 4 MwHr per year for what I drive.

@ shs and create, thanks, your comments are very much appreciated.

@rch1708: Yeah it depends on the panels and who you have install the panels. I did think about getting them wholesale. 6.5kW DC (26 panels with microinverters) for about $11K and then hiring a contractor to install about 20 of them. In the end I felt more comfortable having a company with a good reputation that does this for a living provide and install the panels. The fact that they provided SunPower panels was also a plus given their high efficiency and my limited roof space. My install has 18 of the 315 panels.

@EDH: A westerly facing roof is actually a good thing as this will time shift your production to more closely match the peak TOU rate periods.

My solar installation has mostly southerly facing panels and the power output tapers off abruptly between 4-5PM, but starts off at 10:00 AM even before the marine layer has fully dissipated. Looking back I wish I had included a few more westerly facing panels to shift most of the power generation a little later in the day to better match the peak TOU period.

@rd2 wrote:

"From the spreadsheet you shared, it looks like you are using your rate at all times of the day... if you do that, you definitely won't benefit from the new EV rate. But if you limit charging to off-peak, I would think you will definitely benefit. Am I missing something?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "using your rate." I've color-coded the spreadsheet to try to make things more clear. I've calculated the rate for each hour of the day, using my actual usage, the old Schedule E-9A cost, and the new Schedule EV cost for the same usage in the same hour. Almost all of my car charging was done during "off-peak" periods (midnight to 7 am weeknights, anything but 5-9 pm on weekends). There are a few weekend charging periods recorded which I would have adjusted were I on EV, perhaps saving me a bit more than indicated, but not much more.

At the beginning of my rate period, new Schedule EV-A is a big loser compared to current Schedule E-9A. Towards the end, after exceeding my baseline by 130%, it's a winner. The result is almost always a wash, just a few dollars saved per month by switching to EV-A (for me).

@TeslaModelSOwner wrote:

"Hope this new rate plan reduces complexity and saves me money."

It's still very complex and it may not save you much. Download your .XML data from http://pge.com/myusage (green icon, lower right corner), and upload the files to the PG&E rate calculator: http://rungie.com:8080/, or savea a copy of my spreadsheet and paste in your own data from the PG&E .CSV files. You may see some discrepancies in the numbers if you do both.

Note that the new Schedule EV contains peak periods charging $0.26 - $0.37 / kWh on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, which did not exist at all in Schedule E-9A. Except for the elimination of baselines and tiers, Schedule EV is still quite complicated. For example, there's a peak period from 3 to 7 p.m. Sat./Sun./Holidays, except from 10/27/2013-11/3/2013 and 3/9/2014 to 4/6/2014, when the peak period is from 4 to 8 p.m. Simple? No.

@EDH AL wrote:

"E9A users: did you consider E9B? If so, why did you choose E9A?"

Installing a separate meter to get E-9B would have cost me about $3,000 as I understand it. Very few choose this option. Though it would probably have eliminated the "200% of Baseline" problem, saving money in the long term, I'm not planning to be in the current house long enough to make up for this (which is also why I wasn't planning to get solar installed, though I may change my mind about that).

If you're concerned the high cost of electricity, write a letter to the CPUC. PG&E is getting a windfall of new money from electric vehicle owners (money that used to go to petroleum companies). We are effectively "bulk purchasers" of off-peak electricity compared to our neighbors, and they ought to give us a better price break than what they are proposing, perhaps $0.07-0.12 kWh (max), like Silicon Valley Power offers to residents of Santa Clara (but to no-one else, as I understand it).

See http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/.

Bob;
What makes you imagine PG&E wants to sell more electricity? Everything I see indicates a flat-out effort to minimize usage (without reducing revenues).

Fellow PG&E sufferers,

After living in a publicly owned utility area (SMUD, Sacramento) for 38 years, we moved just across the river to West Sacramento, served by PG&E for electricity. For exactly the same kw use in our new house as the last month in our SMUD served house, the bill was TRIPLE ! After 3 months of trying to conserve and still have bills 2.5X what I had been used to, I got bids for solar PV systems. We initially installed a 3.6 kw system and that WIPED OUT TOTALLY our monthly use charges from PG&E. Then we planned to get two EVs (the Leaf and Volt), so I added a secondary set of 7 more panels to our roof. After two years with both the Leaf and Volt, we still have ZERO monthly extortion from PG&E. Our Model S arrives next week to replace the Leaf. ANYBODY with any sun exposure at all "served/extorted" by PG&E should get solar PV on their home. Here is a link to a website that does a cost summary:

http://cleantechnica.com/2009/07/10/really-solar-is-actually-cheaper-tha...

Prices have continued to go down on the panels since our install, and here is a link to a company that provides all the hardware and you can then get your own electrician to do the install:

http://www.bluepacificsolar.com/home-solar/9

If you have variable shading on your roof, a micro-inverter system is the way to go, otherwise regular central inverter options can be considered. The warranty on the microinverter system is a bit better, as I read that detail for this outfit.

We will be building a new home in Vacaville in the next year, so we are looking at several of these newer PV options for there. Our current system is Sunpower 220 panels, 2 inverters, and was installed by Capital City Solar here in Sacramento. We have our current system installed as a partial awning providing shade for our second story windows from the offset of the panels from the actual roof.

And here is a link to a piece on the Consumer Reports car blog on our house and cars....

http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2011/04/a-tale-of-two-evs-californi...

The only thing I can add is GO Solar. Buy don't lease and oversize your system so you overproduce to offset higher tiers rates on PG&E E6 time of use rates.

I spent a lot of time last winter, before my MS arrived, debating the E9 rates vs. the E6. I spent time running my own numbers and discussing with PG&E Solar Assist staff, very helpful. If you have PV Solar E6 is a better option especially if you overproduce NET/year from my experience.

I haven't had an electric bill in over 3 years since I installed my 7.7kWh DC system using a single inverter. There is great advice above about micro inverters for split (directional) system.

To be honest without my PV system I wouldn't have been able to justify or afford my MS. My auto insurance went up about 30% over my Acura TL I replaced with the MS, and I'm saving over $2k/year in gasoline. OBTW, its the best car I've ever driven!

gparrott....

Hmmmm.... The blue pacific solar company has a 3.9KW Canadian solar kit with microinverters for $6862, but a company called cleansolar just quoted me $17761 for the install of the same system? Does the labor, tax, delivery and permit really cost that much? Or am I missing something?

Thanks in advance

Check around for actual install costs and permit costs, and you need to add in the mounting hardware which is an option at the bottom of the Blue Pacific Solar order form, BUT the install time, for 3 guys working 6 hours or less per day was about 18 total hours (X 3 persons X hourly rates). This was for our original, somewhat complicated 18 panel system installed offset of the roof. I would GUESSTIMATE that a local electrical contractor should be able to install such a 4kw system for around $5000 labor and permit costs MAX. And you get 30% tax credit on your TOTAL costs, materials plus install and permitting).

OTOH, in some states and with all their local incentives, some VERY good bids have been reported. In Colorado I know a guy who got a 5.7 kw system TOTALLY installed on his house for around $7000 and that was TWO YEARS ago! (Check the website: www.solarchargeddriving.com) as the system I refer to is his....

SHOP around, there are very volatile pricing options these days in solar panels...

I got 11 different solar PV installers to come and bid my original 18 panel install, by the way.

I know the solar prices have really dropped over the last 3 years atleast. I have a 3.2KW Sharp system currently which I paid $26700 before rebates, and now a different company is offering me 3.92KW system installed for $17661!

I was just wondering if the installers in the SF bay area are much more expensive, if the equipment alone is so CHEAP! Thanks for all the input.

I guess the point is...It doesn't really matter what the PGE EV rate is, if you are creating your own power!

I'm in the South San Francisco Bay area and 3 years ago my 7.7kWh (BP 215w panels and Fronius 9600 Inverter) system cost me $36,400 after rebate. The house was being built and I chose to have the builder install the system which was ready at close of escrow. I could have gotten a cheaper price by a few thousand dollars if I went after build but I would have had to wait 6-8 months before it would go live. Just got a bid to double my system and the new 7.7kWh system was quoted at $28k.

I agree with those who say shop around and get multiple bids. Just make sure you're comparing apples to apples, output, efficiency, warranty, longevity of the installer, and brand of panels and inverters. Again, I strongly suggest that you buy, finance if you have to, and not lease. My philosophy is that if someone wants to lease you something they make a heft profit on your money.

Yes, if you can keep "the meter running backwards" during the peak demand periods YOU are getting credit at those HIGH RATE TIMES, and then setting your vehicle charge times for "off peak" times and even doing your drying (assuming you have an electric dryer) at those times via delay timing on the newer dryers, YOU can actually "game PG&E" on their exploitative rate structure system.

Game on once you "go solar PV."

Another energy option to consider, for future remodels, etc. is to go to a fundamentally "white roof." You can get high reflective roofing tiles that will reduce the cooling needs in your home by 10-20% over the typical dark tile or composition roofs. If you have to re-roof with composition materials, consider the lightest shades available or even better consider using one of the newer "metal shake" materials which also come in high reflective shades and don't absorb and transmit heat INTO your attic and thus your house.

lovetocurse;
Kind of unfair to lessors; Imagine fronting money for any kind of equipment or asset and accepting almost all risk for x years. Wouldn't you ask for some compensation? Profit is return on contribution, and isn't just an arbitrary cash grab.


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