Find out about enrollment, choosing a service provider and more about our Direct Access (DA) service in frequently asked questions (FAQ) .
DA service is an optional service that enables customers to buy electric supplies and services from an Energy Service Provider (ESP) instead of from PG&E. When a customer buys electricity from an ESP under DA service, we continue to deliver the electricity.
Any electric customer can take advantage of DA service. However, the right of retail customers to acquire DA electric service was suspended on September 20, 2001. (Access additional information on DA service suspension.)
To take advantage of DA service, you must first contact an ESP. If you agree to the ESP’s terms, conditions and prices, the ESP submits a request to switch you from bundled PG&E service (electric supply, transmission and distribution service) to DA service. Your ESP also informs you of any available billing and metering options. If you’re not a small customer (generally defined as residential and small commercial), you’re required to have an interval meter in place.
An ESP is an individual or company that works directly with customers to provide electric supplies and services. ESPs may serve only selected markets, such as large commercial and industrial customers. They may also serve customers in all markets, including residential.
We’re prohibited from recommending any participating ESP. However, a list of ESPs is available on our website.
PLEASE NOTE: ESPs market their services throughout the PG&E service territory. They may use advertising, direct mail, personal contact or other means to promote their services.
We don’t make a profit on the sale of electricity to customers because of the way that electric utilities are regulated. We make a profit from moving electricity through our transmission and distribution systems and from other sources. However, we do not profit from the sale of electricity.
An ESP must have adequate supplies of electricity scheduled for customers. We’re allowed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to recover costs from an ESP it if fails to meet this obligation. We’re the default provider if your ESP fails to provide an adequate supply of electricity.
No, the quality of the electricity is the same high quality that you receive from us.
Choosing another provider may not result in savings. ESPs purchase electricity from numerous sources and through a variety of contractual arrangements, all of which may be priced differently. Some ESPs may offer attractive pricing options, other incentives or the convenience of other services.
You can investigate the various options offered by different ESPs to determine potential savings. We don’t guarantee that every customer will save money under the DA service option. Your savings will be based on your ESP’s ability to purchase electricity at a lower cost than PG&E’s cost.
The CPUC regulates the rates that we charge to customers for our services. Therefore, we’re not permitted to set our electric supply prices to match an ESP’s offer.
If you’re interested in DA service, the first step is to contact an ESP and discuss your options. If you decide the service meets your needs and want to proceed, the ESP will request that we switch your account to DA service.
The billing method depends on the ESP. You might receive one bill that includes charges for the electric supply, transmission and distribution. Alternatively, you might receive two bills: one from your ESP for the electric supply and one from PG&E for transmission and distribution. The billing terms are defined in the agreement with your ESP. In most cases, you’ll continue to be responsible for payment of your PG&E transmission and distribution bill, regardless of the payment arrangements made between you and your ESP.
The agreement with your ESP should outline the cancellation process and conditions. If an ESP terminates service to you, you’ll be returned to PG&E’s bundled service.
ESPs must register with the CPUC, and meet the Commission’s financial and technical viability standards. ESPs must also sign a service agreement with PG&E and meet our credit requirements before conducting business in our service territory.
ESPs are not regulated by the CPUC or PG&E. However, the CPUC carefully monitors the activities of all ESPs. In addition, state law requires that all registered ESPs disclose their prices, terms and conditions of service to you in writing.
Consumers may proceed with a dispute against a registered ESP by either filing a complaint with the CPUC or filing an action in the judicial court system.
Continue to call PG&E in case of any emergency involving electric service. We will also continue to respond to your safety-related calls and maintain the distribution system leading to your home. You can reach us at 1-800-743-5000.
Except in very rare instances, no additional power lines will be installed. Electricity purchased from ESPs is distributed through our existing transmission and distribution systems.
Changes to the electric industry do not mean that low-income services will be cut. The California State Legislature passed a law that requires the continuation of efforts to protect the environment and programs to help low-income customers with their energy bills. We endorse this law.