Understand the High Usage Surcharge
What is the High Usage Surcharge?
The High Usage Surcharge is a mandated charge that encourages energy conservation. The High Usage Surcharge is an increased price per kilowatt hour (kWh) on any electricity usage that exceeds four times the customer's Tier 1 Baseline Allowance. It applies to the Tiered Rate Plans (E-1), (EM), (ES), (ESR) and (ET).
In response to COVID-19 and customers’ increased home energy use, the High Usage Surcharge has been reduced from 54 cents per kWh to 38 cents per kWh until further notice.
To help you avoid the surcharge, PG&E offers a variety of useful tips, tools and programs below. Time-of-Use rate plans do not incur the High Usage Surcharge. Explore Time-of-Use rate plans now.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVED A HIGH USAGE ALERT EMAIL
- If you received an email stating you are forecasted to move into a higher pricing level, you still have time to avoid the High Usage Surcharge by checking your current usage and conserving on electricity use before your next bill.
- If your electricity use continues to rise and you exceed four times your Tier 1 Baseline Allowance, you will receive a follow-up email to let you know your account has incurred the High Usage Surcharge.
- You may incur a High Usage Surcharge once per monthly billing cycle and could receive up to two High Usage Alerts per billing cycle. You can unenroll from the High Usage Alerts but it will not exempt you from the charge. To unenroll, log into your account, toggle the High Usage Alert button to "OFF," click "OK," then "Save Changes".
- Run a personalized online rate comparison to find out if you're on the best rate plan for your energy use.
Will you be impacted by the Surcharge?
The High Usage Surcharge applies only to customers on Tiered Rate Plans (E-1), (EM), (ES), (ESR) and (ET) who exceed four times their Tier 1 Baseline Allowance.
Each customer on a tiered rate plan has an allowance of electricity that is charged at the lowest possible price; this is called Tier 1 or your Baseline Allowance.
Learn more about your Tier 1 Baseline Allowance
The High Usage Surcharge is applied if a customer uses more than four times their Tier 1 Baseline Allowance in a monthly billing period.
See where the surcharge is listed on your energy statement
As of March 2017, customers who have incurred the High Usage Surcharge will find the following sections regarding electric charges and tier usage on page 3 of the Energy Statement. Note that the Energy Statement below indicates that a High Usage Surcharge has been applied to this customer’s current bill.
If you have not yet received a High Usage Surcharge, you can review your energy statement and follow these three steps to determine whether you are at risk of incurring the surcharge:
Step 1: Multiply your Tier 1 Allowance by four.
Step 2: Compare the result to your Total Usage.
Step 3: If your Total Usage is close to four times of your Tier 1 Allowance, in future bill cycles you might incur a High Usage Surcharge.
If your Total Usage is four times or more than your Tier 1 Baseline Allowance, you will incur the surcharge.
Learn how much you should expect the High Usage Surcharge to be
The surcharge will depend on your amount of usage above four times baseline and the price per kWh.
To help you avoid the surcharge, PG&E offers a variety of useful tips, tools and programs on this page—see above.
*California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program gives qualified households deep discounts on their energy bills.
Manage your energy use and costs
A High Usage Alert gives you early warning if your usage is projected to trigger a surcharge. You can then reduce your energy usage to avoid the surcharge.
A Bill Forecast Alert sends a notification if your bill is expected to exceed an amount you specify.
Find out how your home uses energy and receive a personalized list of energy efficiency improvements with our free, 5-minute Home Energy Checkup.
Visit your online account where we’ll compare your usage pattern against the various rate options. You can choose the rate plan that’s best for you.
If you have special energy needs due to a medical condition, you may qualify to receive extra energy at a lower price. Learn if you're eligible for assistance.
You may be able to join the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program to get a discount on your energy bills. Learn whether your household qualifies.
The Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Program provides qualified customers with energy-saving improvements at no charge.
Learn about rebates for energy-efficiency products, including smart thermostats and other appliances for your home.
This no-cost/low-cost program helps customers reduce energy and water use and save money on their monthly utility bills.
With simple tools and tips from PG&E, you can have more control over the energy you use while keeping bills down and your home comfortable.