PG&E preps customers for time-of-use pricing
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) this week announced a new education initiative, designed to help its small- and medium-sized customers prepare for a mandatory November shift to time-of-use pricing.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) mandated switch will not affect residential customers, but offers a way for other customers to save money and ease grid strain. The largest commercial and industrial customers have already been moved to time-of-use pricing. Through customer correspondence, local outreach and online advertising, the PG&E campaign is designed to make the process as transparent as possible.
"We offer a wide range of tools and energy management solutions to help customers conserve energy during peak periods and lower their bills," said Helen Burt, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at PG&E.
PG&E is also asking state regulators to consider an opt-out option for customers who wish to remain under the current pricing model.
"Although time-of-use pricing is an important element of the state's energy policy, we know that our customers appreciate having options, so we hope that state regulators will approve our proposal to let customers opt out of the program and stick with existing flat-rate prices if they desire," Burt said.
A PG&E analysis found that 60 percent of customers would either benefit from or experience no change with the new pricing structure. Only about 2 percent of these customers would experience an increase of more than $8 a month.
"Conserving even a small amount of energy during afternoon peak demand can lower costs. It also helps our environment by reducing the need for utilities to buy power from fossil-fueled power plants and increases the reliability of the state's electric grid," said CPUC President Michael Peevy in a statement.
Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) have proposed switching to time-of-use pricing in October 2012 and March 2013, according to the CPUC.
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