December 2013 Bill Inserts

Each month, PG&E offers important information on rebates, saving energy and safety in printed inserts that accompany your bill. Now, access this information online whenever you wish.

GasPipelineSafety
Natural gas safety: Call 811 before you dig
Always call 811 at least two working days before starting any project that involves digging to have underground utility lines located and marked for free.

Gas pipeline locations 
PG&E operates natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines across California. Our distribution pipelines are located throughout neighborhoods and connect to homes and businesses.

Our transmission pipelines carry gas from one part of the state to another and connect to our distribution system. We offer a comprehensive online map showing our transmission pipelines at pge.com/pipelinelocations. You can view any location in our service area—your home, place of work or any other areas of interest—to see if transmission pipelines run nearby. 

Also, the National Pipeline Mapping System, www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov, shows the location of all transmission pipelines in the United States, viewable by county, zip code or street address.

Spot the signs of trouble
PG&E regularly inspects all of our pipelines to check for possible leaks or other signs of damage. As an additional safety precaution, we also add a sulfur-like odor to natural gas. If you smell this distinctive “rotten egg” odor, move to a safe location and immediately call 911 and PG&E
at 1-800-743-5000.

But don’t rely on your nose alone. Other signs of a possible gas leak can include: 

  • Dirt spraying into the air.
  • Continual bubbling in a pond or creek.
  • Dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
  • Hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
In case of emergency
You can help prevent a natural gas pipeline fire. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately and move upwind, to a safe place. Then call 911 to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Warn others nearby to stay away from the area. Until you are a safe distance away, do not light a match or operate any device that might create a spark, including electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions, cell phones and garage door openers.

Before you dig, know what’s below
Damage from excavation is a common cause of pipeline accidents. Even if you are planting a new bush or digging a fence post in your own yard, you must always call 811 Underground Service Alert (USA) at least two working days before you dig. USA is a free service that will notify underground utility operators in the area of your planned work. PG&E will then locate and mark our underground gas and electric facilities.

Always be aware of pipeline markers. Markers include an emergency number and indicate the need for extra care around a high-volume transmission line. These markers specify the approximate location, but not all pipelines follow a straight path between markers. If you or your contractor accidently digs into a gas pipeline, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish any fire.

Leave the area immediately and move to a safe location. Then call 911to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Safety is PG&E’s highest responsibility
We monitor our gas pipeline operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we conduct regular inspections and surveys on pipelines.

Find out more about our comprehensive safety and monitoring program visit pge.com/safety.

To watch a video with tips for how to safely dig near underground pipelines visit Call Before You Dig.

For more information about gas pipeline safety, contact us at the numbers below: 
For assistance in English please call 1-888-743-7431.
Para ayuda en español, por favor llame al 1-800-660-6789
要用粵語/國語請求協助,請致電 1-800-893-9555.
Kung kailangang makipag-usap sa nakakasalita ng Tagalog, tumawag 
sa 1-888-641-5019.
It’s easy! Learn how to enroll in paperless statements today.
RESrateImage
To learn more about how PG&E’s rate plans can deliver savings, please visit pge.com/MyRateAnalysis or reference the account detail of your energy statement.

ELECTRIC RATE PLANS*
PG&E offers two base rate plans, the Tiered Plan and the Time-of-Use plan, as well as additional options and discounts that can be added to the base plan.

Tiered Plan (E-1) is a rate plan with four pricing "tiers." With this plan, all customers are given a Tier 1 allowance, which provides for basic electricity needs at a low rate. Customers who consume more than the Tier 1 allowance move into the next energy tier at a higher rate. The longer customers can stay on the initial allowance, the longer they remain on our lowest rate and the more money they save. This plan is best for customers who can conserve energy throughout the month.

Time-of-Use (E-6)† is a rate plan where the price of electricity varies by the time of day as well as by tier. The Time-of-Use plan encourages customers to shift their electricity use to morning, late evenings and weekends from May through October, and at all times outside 5–8 p.m. on weekdays from November through April. This plan is best for customers who can shift energy use away from peak hours to lower-priced hours.

In addition, there are special non-tiered Time-of-Use rate plans. EV-A and EV-B are available for customers who charge an electric vehicle at their home. These plans provide a reduced rate for charging vehicles during non-peak hours. EV-A is a rate plan for your home and electric vehicle combined. EV-B is a rate plan for customers with a dedicated meter for charging their electric vehicle.

SmartRate (E-RSMART) is an option customers can add to their Time-of-Use or Tiered rate plans. Customers on this option receive credits June through September. In exchange, prices are higher between 9 and 15 peak energy days between May and October, called SmartDays. Customers are notified the day before and encouraged to reduce energy usage between 2-7 p.m.

Net Energy Metering Service (NEM, NEMV, NEMFC) pricing plans are for customers who operate a qualified generating facility, such as solar, wind or fuel cell with a maximum total capacity of 1,000 kW or less. These rates allow eligible generated electricity to offset all or part of a customer’s electric load when connected to the PG&E grid. Customers may be able to interconnect more than one generator, each subject to different pricing treatment, on a single account.
To learn more about Net Energy Metering services visit pge.com/gen, or contact PG&E at gen@pge.com.

Master-Metered Customers with Sub-Metered Tenants (ET, ES, ESR, GS, GT) are for customers that sub-meter electricity or gas to their tenants. They are required by Section 739.5 (a) of the California Public Utilities Code to charge their tenants the same rates as if they were being billed directly by PG&E and pass along any refunds or rate reductions to your tenants. These plans are closed to new construction. However, existing customers on the EM/GM rate plan may install sub-meters and convert to these schedules.
To learn more about sub-metered tenants and landlords visit pge.com/SubMetered.

Master-Metered Multifamily Service (EM) is a master- metered rate plan for customers without sub-meters and is closed to new installations.

EM Time-of-Use is a Time-of-Use rate plan that is available for customers who qualify for the EM rate. The Time-of-Use periods are the same as on rate plan E-6. EM Time-of-Use is closed to new installations.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ELECTRIC CHARGES
PG&E customers can find current electric charges on their energy statements. A standard bill includes some of the following components to calculate applicable charges.

RESchartA

Some customers may be eligible for the following options, subject to eligibility criteria.

RESchartB

To learn more about electric baseline and tier rates visit pge.com/MyCharges.

INCOME-QUALIFIED RATE OPTIONS
PG&E has two programs to help income–qualified households reduce their gas and electric bills.

The California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)
program provides a monthly discount on energy bills for households and housing facilities that meet the program’s income-qualifications. Qualifications are based on the number of persons living in the home and the total annual gross household income.

The Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) provides a monthly discount on bundled electric service for income-qualified households of three or more persons.

For additional information on these programs and other ways we can help customers manage their energy bills visit pge.com/FinancialAssistance.

GAS OPTIONS
Core Gas Aggregation Service (G-CT) is for customers who purchase gas from a supplier other than PG&E. This service provides pricing for only the PG&E gas delivery and service response portion. Your alternative gas supplier provides the gas pricing or billing services.

Natural Gas Rate for Home Refuel Appliances (G1-NGV or GL1-NGV) is an optional residential rate plan for customers with a natural gas vehicle and associated home refueling appliance.

COMMON AREA ACCOUNTS
Common area gas and/or electric accounts that are separately metered may have the option of selecting a non-residential rate plan.

* For Direct Access (DA) and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers, PG&E delivers the electricity to your home, and your DA or CCA provider purchases and/or generates the electricity you consume. Net Metering, CCA and DA customers are eligible for many, but not all, of the rate plans or features of rate plans listed in this notice. For more information, call the numbers below or call your DA or CCA provider.

† Daylight saving time will start March 9, 2014 and end November 2, 2014. To adjust for this, from March 9, 2014 to April 5, 2014, and from October 26, 2014 to November 1, 2014, your Time-of-Use periods will begin and end one hour later.
Summary
On October 29, 2013, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) presenting the results of its Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation Project and records search, as well as updating its revenue requirements and rates associated with the Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, described below.

About the program
In Decision (D.) 11-06-017, the CPUC required all California gas transmission operators to file a Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Replacement or Testing Implementation Plan to pressure test or replace all in-service natural gas transmission pipelines that have not previously been pressure tested. PG&E filed its Implementation Plan on August 26, 2011, proposing a scope of work, revenue requirements and rates for the years 2011-2014. PG&E’s Implementation Plan includes a pipeline Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation Project, which contains a comprehensive search of records including all pipeline strength tests and pipeline features data necessary to recalculate the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure of pipelines, and validation for all of PG&E’s gas transmission pipelines.

On December 28, 2012, the CPUC issued D. 12-12-030, approving PG&E’s Pipeline Modernization scope of work and ordering PG&E to file an application after the completion of its Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation Project and records search to present the results of those efforts, and update its authorized revenue requirements and rates. PG&E has completed its Validation Project. Consistent with the outcome of PG&E’s Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation Project, PG&E requests the authority to reduce its previously approved revenue requirements for 2012-2014 by $52.7 million.

How will PG&E’s application affect me?
Upon CPUC approval of this application, a typical residential customer using 37 therms per month would see an average monthly gas bill decrease of $.06 (or 0.13%), from $44.87 to $44.81 based on rates in effect in 2013. A typical small business customer using 287 therms per month would see an average monthly gas bill decrease of $0.44 (or 0.16%), from $266.68 to $266.24. Individual customers’ bills may differ.

PG&E’s proposed revenue requirement reduction will not compromise the safety of PG&E’s customers. PG&E‘s pipeline strength testing and replacement program remains a key operational commitment and priority for the company. PG&E proposes to reduce the scope of future work in light of records found, re-prioritization of certain activities and other information learned during the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation consistent with the CPUC’s decision.

How do I find out more about PG&E’s application?
You can view PG&E’s application and exhibits at pge.com/RegCases. Select “PSEP Update” from the Cases dropdown menu.

If you have questions about PG&E’s application, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. For TDD/TTY (speech-hearing impaired), call 1-800-652-4712.

If you would like a copy of PG&E’s application and exhibits, please write to PG&E at the address below:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan Compliance Update
P.O. Box 7442
San Francisco, CA 94120

A copy of PG&E’s application and exhibits are also available for review at the CPUC, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon. PG&E’s application (without exhibits) is available on the CPUC’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc.

How does the CPUC’s decision making process work?
The application will be reviewed through the CPUC formal administrative law process. The application will be assigned to a CPUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ presides over the proceeding, which may include evidentiary hearings often held in a proceeding to give parties of record an opportunity to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Members of the public may attend but not participate in these hearings. The hearings and documents submitted in the proceeding become part of the formal record that the ALJ relies upon in writing a proposed decision to present to the five-member Commission.

Any CPUC Commissioner may issue an alternate decision. The proposed and any alternate decisions are acted upon at a CPUC voting meeting. When the CPUC acts on this application, it may adopt all or part of PG&E’s request, modify it or deny the application.

If you would like to follow this proceeding or any other issue before the CPUC, you may utilize the CPUC’s free and confidential subscription service. Sign up at: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in this proceeding, or if you have comments or questions, you may access the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc and click on “Public Advisor” from the CPUC Information menu. You can also:
Email:
public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Mail:

Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103
San Francisco, CA 94102

Call:

(415) 703-2074 or 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free)
TTY (415) 703-5282 or 1-866-836-7825 (toll-free)

If you are writing or emailing the Public Advisor’s Office, please include the application number (A13-10-017). All comments will be circulated to the Commissioners, the assigned ALJ and the CPUC staff.

Questions have been raised about the possible health effects of 60-hertz (power frequency) electric and magnetic fields (EMF*), which are found wherever you have electric power. This insert contains information that will help you understand the EMF issue, plus practical tips you can use to reduce your exposure at home and at work.

Campos Eléctricos y Magnéticos (EMF, por sus siglas en inglés): Si desea recibir información en español, comuníquese con Pacific Gas and Electric Company al 1-800-660-6789.

Can EMF Harm Your Health?
Electric and magnetic fields are present wherever electricity flows—around appliances and power lines, and in offices, schools and homes. Many researchers believe that if there is a risk of adverse health effects from usual residential exposures to EMF, it is probably just at the detection limit of human health studies; nonetheless, the possible risk warrants further investigation. The varying results from epidemiological studies, which looked at estimated EMF exposures and childhood leukemia, are consistent with a weak link. Laboratory studies, including studies investigating a possible mechanism for health effects (mechanistic studies), provide little or no evidence to support this weak link.

The results from many research studies have been evaluated by international, national and California EMF research programs to determine whether EMF poses any health risk. Given the uncertainty of the issue, the medical and scientific communities have been unable to conclude that usual residential exposures to EMF cause health effects, or to establish any standard or level of residential exposure that is known to be either safe or harmful. These conclusions remain unchanged by recent studies.

World Health Organization Findings
The World Health Organization (WHO) completed a review of the potential health implications of extremely low frequency (ELF) EMF, which includes power-frequency fields. Their conclusions and recommendations were presented in June 2007 in a report known as the Extremely Low Frequency Fields, Environmental Health Criteria Monograph No. 238.

The WHO report concluded that evidence for a link between ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukemia “is not strong enough to be considered causal but sufficiently strong to remain a concern.” “Virtually all of the laboratory evidence and the mechanistic evidence fail to support” this reported association. For all other diseases, there is inadequate or no evidence of health effects at low exposure levels.

The report emphasized that, given the weakness of the evidence for health effects, the health benefits of exposure reduction are unclear and adopting policies based on arbitrary low exposure limits is not warranted. In light of this situation, WHO made these and other recommendations:

  • National authorities should implement communication programs with all stakeholders to enable informed decision-making, including how individuals can reduce their own exposure.
  • Policy makers and community planners should implement very low-cost measures to reduce exposures when constructing new facilities and designing new equipment, including appliances.
  • Policy makers should establish guidelines for ELF field exposure for both the general public and workers. The best source of guidance for both exposure levels and the principles of scientific review are the international guidelines.
  • Government and industry should promote research to reduce the uncertainty of the scientific evidence on the health effects of ELF field exposure. Several recommended research projects are already under way through the Electric Power Research Institute, of which Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is a member.

To view the full report and a fact sheet summarizing it, visit www.who.int/peh-emf and click on EMF publications & information resources.

EMF Chart

What You Can Do
In a situation of scientific uncertainty and public concern, WHO recommended that utilities explore "very low-cost" ways to reduce EMF exposure from new or upgraded facilities. PG&E and other California public utilities have been pursuing no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce EMF levels from new utility transmission lines and substation projects. You, too, may want to take no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce your EMF exposure at home and at work.

Human studies have not produced a consensus about any health benefits from changing the way people use electric appliances. However, if you feel reducing your EMF exposure would be beneficial, you can increase your distance from electric appliances and limit the amount of time you use appliances at home or at work.

For instance, you can place phone answering machines and electric clocks away from the head of your bed. Increasing your distance from these and other appliances such as televisions, computer monitors and microwave ovens can reduce your EMF exposure.

You can also reduce your EMF exposure by limiting the time you spend using personal appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, heating pads and electric blankets. You may also want to limit the time you spend using electric cooking appliances.

You can locate the sources of EMF in your work environment, and spend break time in lower-field areas.

It is not known whether such actions will have any impact on your health.

For More Information
Call PG&E for a free information package or home or business measurements at 1-800-743-5000.

Additional information is also available at these links:
World Health Organization International EMF Project:
Visit www.who.int/peh-emf for EMF information, including fact sheets, research completed and scientific journal articles.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:
Visit www.niehs.nih.gov/health and click on Brochures & Fact Sheets, then select EMFs in English or Spanish.

California Department of Health Services:
Visit www.ehib.org/emf

California Public Utilities Commission:
Visit www.cpuc.ca.gov and enter "EMF Actions" in the Search box.

Reviewed by: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

Summary
On November 22, 2013, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a request to change certain residential rates, to be effective by the summer of 2014, as described below. The request complies with a ruling from the CPUC inviting electric utilities to file proposals that will better align rates with the actual costs of providing electric service and to simplify rate plans.

About the Proposals
On October 7, 2013, Assembly Bill 327 (AB 327) was signed into law. This new law authorizes the CPUC to consider several changes to California’s electricity rate structure to better serve customers. Through this filing, PG&E is requesting approval to begin reforming its residential electric rate structure consistent with AB 327.

This proposed request will not change the amount of total revenues collected by PG&E. If adopted, some residential customers would see bill decreases or bill increases, depending upon their monthly usage levels and their rate plan. PG&E proposes:
  • To change the residential electric rate structure by reducing the number of electric pricing tiers for non-CARE standard residential and time-of-use rate plans, from its current 4 tiers to 3 tiers. These changes will better align rates with the costs of providing electric service to customers.

OIR Chart A

  • An initial step to reduce the effective California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) discount in order to begin a transition towards the 30-35 percent discount range required by AB 327. The proposal will reduce the average discount for customers on the CARE program from the current average discount of 48 percent to 43 percent. Under the proposed changes, CARE customers would still receive a substantial overall savings compared to rates paid by non-CARE customers.
  • To reduce the Public Purpose Program (PPP) charge, as a result of reducing the CARE discount. The CARE surcharge portion of the PPP surcharge that is paid by most residential and non-residential customers is expected to decrease by 26 percent from a per-unit charge of 0.844 cent per kWh to 0.626 cent per kWh.

How will PG&E’s proposals affect me?
Most customers receive bundled electric service from PG&E, meaning that we provide electric generation, transmission and distribution service. The table below illustrates monthly bill impacts for bundled residential customers at three usage levels, who are geographically located in baseline territory X.
OIR Chart B
Rate and bill impacts for DA/CCA customers.
Direct Access (DA) and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers only receive electric transmission and distribution service from PG&E. DA/CCA customers are charged the same electric distribution and Public Purpose Program rate as bundled service customers and likewise the CARE surcharge portion of the PPP rate is expected to decrease by 26 percent.

Another category of non-bundled customers are Departing Load (DL) customers. DL customers do not receive electric generation, transmission or distribution services from PG&E. However, like DA and CCA customers, they are required to pay certain procurement-related charges, such as the Public Purpose Program rate, as bundled electric service customers.

How do I find out more about PG&E’s application?
If you have questions about PG&E’s supplemental filing, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. For TDD/TTY (speech-hearing impaired), call 1-800-652-4712.

If you would like a copy of PG&E’s supplemental filing and exhibits, please write to PG&E at the address below:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Summer 2014 Residential Rate Reform (R.12-06-013, Phase 2)
P.O. Box 7442 San Francisco, CA 94120

A copy of PG&E’s supplemental filing and exhibits are also available for review at the CPUC, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon. PG&E’s supplemental filing (without exhibits) is available on the CPUC’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc.

How does the CPUC’s decision-making process work?
This supplemental filing will be reviewed through the CPUC formal administrative law process. The filed proposals will be assigned to a CPUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ presides over the proceeding, which may include evidentiary hearings often held in a proceeding to give parties of record an opportunity to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Members of the public may attend but not participate in these hearings. The hearings and documents submitted in the proceeding become part of the formal record that the ALJ relies upon in writing a proposed decision to present to the five-member Commission.

Any CPUC Commissioner may issue an alternate decision. The proposed and any alternate decisions are acted upon at a CPUC voting meeting. When the CPUC acts on this supplemental filing, it may adopt all or part of PG&E’s request, modify them or deny the request.

If you would like to follow this proceeding or any other issue before the CPUC, you may utilize the CPUC’s free and confidential subscription service. Sign up at: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov/.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in this proceeding, or if you have comments or questions, you may access the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc and click on “Public Advisor” from the CPUC Information menu. You can also:

Email: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Mail:
Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103
San Francisco, CA 94102

Call:
(415) 703-2074 or 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free)
TTY (415) 703-5282 or 1-866-836-7825 (toll-free)

If you are writing or emailing the Public Advisor’s Office, please include the proceeding number (R.12-06-013, Phase 2). All comments will be circulated to the commissioners, the assigned ALJ and the CPUC staff.