While rates are the same across PG&E's service area, the amount of electricity required to move up the tiers over a month is different for each customer depending on their location, whether summer or winter, and whether home heating is electric or natural gas. The amount assigned to the first tier is called a "baseline" and represents the minimum level of usage needed to satisfy a substantial portion of the electricity needs of the average customer in a specific service area called a "climate zone."
A monthly baseline quantity or Tier 1 Allowance is indicated on each bill you receive, based on the number of billing days in your cycle. (You can find the number of billing days on the Details of Electric and Gas Charges page of your monthly energy statement). Energy use below the baseline amount is billed at a lower rate than is energy use over the baseline. To determine your monthly baseline quantity, do the following:
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Roll your cursor over the region where you live to determine your baseline quantity amount per day.
Your Baseline Territory can be found on the Details of Electric and Gas Charges page of your bill, in the right-hand column.
*Electric baseline quantities went into effect August 1, 2014; Gas baseline quantities went into effect on November 1, 2015.
PG&E's service area is divided into "Baseline territories." Customers in each baseline territory are allocated a daily quantity of kilowatt hours (kwh) of electric power and therms of natural gas that can be billed at a lower, "baseline" rate.
The Public Utilities (PU) Code establishes baseline quantities for average residential gas and electricity use within each baseline territory. The PU code specifically requires that baseline quantities fall between 50 and 60 percent of average use for basic-electric customers in both the summer and winter and for all-electric and gas customers in the summer. The PU code also requires that baseline quantities fall between 60 to 70 percent of average use for all-electric and gas customers in the winter. PG&E's baseline summer season for gas is April 1 - October 31. PG&E’s baseline summer seasons for electric are: E6 Rate May 1 - October 31 and Time-of-Use Rate Plan 3-8 p.m. (ETOU-A) rate June 1 – September 30.
PG&E's winter baseline season is November 1 - March 31 for gas and for electric are: E6 Rate November 1 - April 30 and for the Time-of-Use Rate Plan 3-8 p.m. (ETOU-A) and Time-of-Use Rate Plan 4-9 p.m. (ETOU-B), the winter season is October 1 through May 31.
Daily baseline quantities are recalculated and submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval approximately every three years, and may be phased-in on an annual basis if necessary.
Though baseline quantities vary by territory, season and customers' heating sources, the prices at each tier are the same for all residential customers on the same rate schedule - regardless of the size of individual homes and number of occupants. Some customers may be eligible for additional medical baseline quantity allowances if established criteria are met.
Until June 2001, both gas and electricity were billed on a two-tier rate structure. After the California energy crisis, electric usage has been billed on a multi-tier rate structure. Beginning in 2016, PG&E will be reducing the number of tiers in the standard rate plan from 4 to 2 (reducing to three tiers in 2016 and to two tiers with a Super User Electric charge in 2017) as part of Residential Rate Reform efforts. In addition, the price difference between the tiers will also be reduced.
The two-tier rate structure remains in effect for gas usage.
Customers are billed at the baseline rate for electric use up to the baseline limit. Use beyond this level is charged at the "over baseline" rate, which is priced at a higher level. (The Details of Electric and Gas Charges page of your monthly energy statement illustrates this.)
|Up to the Baseline amount||During each monthly billing period, each household's energy consumption begins at the lowest rate. Tiers are set with a certain amount of energy allocated to it and then you move on to higher priced tiers.|
|Electricity usage from 101% to 130% of Baseline||Costs more than Tier 1—about $0.04 more per kilowatt of electricity used.|
|Electricity usage from 131% to 200% of Baseline||Costs about $0.10 more per kilowatt than Tier 1.|
|Electricity usage above 200% of Baseline||This is the most expensive tier and is almost double the price of your Tier 1 electric costs.|
Gas usage remains at a two-tier structure. Rates for Tier 1—the baseline tier—will continue to be billed at the baseline rate; Tier 2 rates ("over baseline") apply to gas use beyond set baseline quantities. Customers are billed at the baseline rate for gas use up to the baseline limit. Use beyond this level is charged at the "over baseline" rate, which is priced at a higher level. (The Details of Electric and Gas Charges page of your monthly bill illustrates this.)