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Why Is My PG&E Electric Bill So High?

Mar 16, 2021 | Saving Tips, Trending Now

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What could be more frustrating as an energy-conserving homeowner than to see ever-increasing electricity bills? You might be wondering “why is my PG&E electric bill so high?” even though you’ve tried so many things to lower it. Nothing seems to be helping!

Running your washing machine at night, not using your air conditioner during the peak hours…yet your bill doesn’t budge; or worse (and most commonly), it continues to rise. There are also additional pop-ups on your bill that are completely out of your control. All these conservation tips you’ve tried will not necessarily work unless you truly understand your electric bill. Take out your PG&E bill and follow along as we explain the two most important things you need to know.

1. Your “Rate Plan” makes a difference!

Depending on which Rate Plan you’re on, your “conservation tips” could be costing you more money. Understanding your Rate Plan is very important for conserving and saving money. You can check your bill to find out which plan you’re on. PG&E has two plans for your energy usage and pricing:

  • PG&E’s Tiered Rate Plan (E-1)

This is a plan that charges for every unit of energy used, and the price for this plan is determined by which tier of power usage you’re in. Each tier has a specific allotment of usage, also shown as “Allowance” on your bill. Once the energy used exceeds this “Allowance”, the consumer is moved into the next more expensive tier. If you can conserve energy and stay in the lower tiers, you will save money.

The chart below demonstrates how Tiered Rate Plan works. Please keep in mind that this chart doesn’t represent all PG&E customers. To calculate your “Allowance”, visit PG&E website

PG&E Electric Bill So High

(Source: PG&E)

  • Time-of-Use Rate Plans (T.O.U.)

PG&E also offers T.O.U plans that charge your usage based on the time of day you’re using electricity. So essentially, time is money. And what time your usage occurs is how your bill will be determined.

At the time this article was written, there are 2 different T.O.U plans available on PG&E website:

  1. Peak pricing 4 – 9 PM every day
  2. Peak pricing 5 – 8 PM weekdays

This simply means your electricity will be the most expensive during peak time. Using more electricity during the off-peak time and avoiding peak time is the way to lower your PG&E bill.

2.  Understanding what you’re paying for!

There are many components of the price that make up the big number at the end of your bill. Page two of your PG&E bill will show the breakdown of these different charges:

  • Transmission: the charge for the power that comes from the source (power plant) to the power grid near your home.
  • Distribution: the charge of delivering the power from the energy grid to your actual house. Delivery is 2/3 of your costs.
    Pro Tip: Being less dependent on the energy grid is the only way to lower the cost of delivery!
  • Additional costs: Different programs that PGE has launched are tacked onto your bill. These are paying for government mandates and financial recuperations for PGE from fires and other infrastructure issues.

Knowing this information can help you predict the cost of your next PG&E energy bill. While understanding exactly what can cause your bill to go up is the first step in saving money, it’s also important to be aware of costs that cannot be determined based on your personal energy consumption. Factors such as increasing tier rates, delivery costs, and tariffs are all the things to be keeping an eye on throughout the month. Visit pge.com/tariffs for more information on rate increases.

If you have done everything you can to conserve your electricity usage and still want to take a step further in lowering your energy bill, going solar might be the right answer for you. The team of energy experts at Purus Energy can guide you and answer any questions you might have regarding going solar. Contact us at (925) 281 7370.

Find out if solar is right for you

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