Understanding Baseline Quantities

Find your baseline quantity

The baseline rate structure provides residential customers with a minimum quantity of electricity and gas at the lowest possible cost, while offering an incentive to conserve energy. A monthly baseline quantity 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 beginning on page 3 of your monthly bill.) 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:

  1. View our baseline quantities territory map below or locate your baseline territory on your bill.
  2. Multiply your daily quantity by the number of billing days (indicated on page 3 of your monthly bill)

Baseline Quantities by Territory for Single Family Dwellings

(Out of service area) Nevada Zone X Zone YZ Zone YZ Zone YZ Zone W Zone V Zone T Zone T Zone S Zone R Zone R Zone R Zone R Zone Q Zone T Zone P Zone P

Roll your cursor over the region where you live to determine your baseline quantity amount. [Our current gas baseline quantities went into effect on April 1, 2006. Our electric baseline quantities went into effect on June 20, 2011.]

Click Find your baseline quantity to determine your baseline quantity amount based on the region where you live.

Determining Baseline Quantities

Service territories are divided into climate zones that reflect energy consumption needs. Each zone, or "rate schedule," is allocated a daily quantity of kilowatthours (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 quanties 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 customer 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 is April 1 - October 31 for gas and May 1 - October 31 for electric. PG&E's winter baseline season is November 1 - March 31 for gas and November 1 - April 30 for electric. To give customers the highest baseline quantities possible, PG&E sets baseline quantities at the highest end of the ranges specified by the PU Code. 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 to mitigate bill impacts.

Though baseline quantities vary by territory, season and customers' heating sources, baseline rates 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.

Rate structures

Until recently, both gas and electricity were billed on a two-tier rate structure. Since June 1, 2001, electric usage has been billed on a five-tier rate structure due to the energy procurement surcharge.

The two-tier rate structure remains in effect for gas usage.

Electric

Rates for Tier 1—the baseline tier—will continue to be billed at the baseline rate; rates in Tiers 2, 3, 4 and 5 apply to electric use beyond set baseline quantities. 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. (Page 3 or 4 of your monthly bill illustrates this.)

5-Tier Rate Structure for Electric Use

Tier #Description
Tier 1Up to the Baseline amount
Tier 2Electricity usage from 101% to 130% of Baseline
Tier 3Electricity usage from 131% to 200% of Baseline
Tier 4Electricity usage from 201% to 300% of Baseline
Tier 5Electricity usage in excess of 300% of Baseline

Gas

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. (Page 3 of your monthly bill illustrates this.)

NOTE: Prior to June 1, 2001, bills for customers on rate schedule E-8 were not affected by baseline territory and baseline quantity. Now, however, the energy procurement surcharge will be applied according to the baseline quantity that would apply if these customers were on schedule E-1, the primary residential rate schedule.

Learn about electric and gas rate options.