Jul 28, 2017 at 11:00am
Did you know that your electricity bill changes from season-to-season? Learn more about all the factors that affect your energy bill.
Spring flowers have come and gone and summer is well upon us in Silicon Valley. In 2017, the changing of seasons was accompanied by the launch of a new Community Choice Energy program. Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) enrolled its first round of customers in April and is completing its second phase of enrollment in July. With a few exceptions, most residents and businesses within the SVCE service territory are receiving carbon free electricity.
Sometimes change comes with some confusion, especially in regard to customers’ energy billing. Under a Community Choice Energy (CCE) model, customer charges for electricity will be separated into “Generation” charges from SVCE and “Transmission and Distribution” charges from PG&E. This can add an additional level of complexity to a utility bill that is already difficult to understand. It is common for new CCE customers to believe that their bill has increased with their transition to their new generation service. However, there are some key points to remember when comparing billing statements.
Last Year’s Bill Is Last Year’s Bill
A common approach of many customers is to look at the previous year’s bill for the same billing period side-by-side with their current bill. While this can be helpful in determining whether they’re using more or fewer total kilowatt-hours over time, it is not an effective way of comparing total costs. PG&E’s rates for Transmission and Distribution are not constant, so comparing bills separated by 12 months is never a true “apples to apples” comparison of cost.
Up, Up, and Away!
The cost of operating dependable electrical infrastructure goes up over time. Likewise, the price that customers pay to PG&E for Transmission and Distribution tend to rise over time, about four percent per year for the last 30 years. PG&E pricing frequently changes from month-to-month within the year, and unless a customer is looking very closely at their statements, the changes may be hard to catch. If a billing statement appears higher after switching to SVCE generation service, it’s likely that PG&E increased their Transmission and Delivery rates.
What’s Your Rate Schedule?
Certain Time-of-Use rate schedules for both residential (E6, ETOU, EV) and commercial rates (A1, A6, A10, E19, E20) have different pricing points for different times of the year. In general, winter time rates are lower than summer time rates due to electricity demand. Winter Time-of-Use schedules occur November through April, and summer schedules occur May through October. Many of our Time-of-Use customers received their first SVCE generation charges in May, and these statements reflected an upswing in pricing from the previous month. Rest assured that this pricing difference is just the seasonal change of rates that Time-of-Use customers have always experienced, and SVCE generation has not caused our customers’ bills to increase.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy was founded on the principle of providing our communities with cleaner electricity at competitive costs. We strive to honor this commitment by meticulously setting our pricing across all rate plans to ensure SVCE generation rates cost one percent less than PG&E, providing modest savings to our customers, in addition to carbon free electricity, choice, and local control. As a community-owned agency, we return net revenues to our communities by keeping rates low and promoting clean energy programs. If it seems your bill has increased since switching to SVCE, remember that there are several factors that can cause a swing in your overall electricity costs, and it’s not from the carbon free electricity you are now receiving from your local electricity provider.
If you would like to compare costs with SVCE and PG&E, check out our cost comparison tool available at: https://www.svcleanenergy.org/cost-comparison. SVCE customer service is available to answer any questions you may have about your bill and can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-844-474-SVCE (7823).