What Does it Cost to Provide You Energy?
Although customers are used to paying the cost for using energy provided by the electric grid, most are unaware that there are also costs associated with ensuring that energy is there when they need it. The Minimum Bill was created to ensure that all customers, even those who use little or no electricity, pay for the portion of the costs needed just to provide electricity service. This charge is applied in a given billing period when the cost of energy used from the Grid does not meet the minimum amount needed to cover all costs.
How is the Minimum Bill Calculated?
The charges for the Minimum Bill include components for the generation of electricity (Energy Charge) and the delivery of energy (Minimum Delivery Charge). The generation portion of the bill (Energy Charge) is used to pay for the electricity itself, while the delivery portion (Minimum Delivery Charge) is used to pay for the transportation of the electricity over PG&E's grid, distribution maintenance, and other charges approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to fund energy efficiency and low-income programs.
The Minimum Delivery Charge accounts for the cost to deliver energy and is $10 for Non-CARE customers. All customers are subject to pay both the Minimum Delivery Charge and Energy Charge associated with kilo-watt (kWh) usage.
Is My Bill Different if My Energy is Not Supplied by PG&E?
Since the Energy Charge is based on the cost to procure energy provided by the customer’s energy service provider, Direct Access (DA) and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers are not subject to the Energy Charge from PG&E. Instead, customers will see another line item for the costs incurred by the DA/CCA for procuring energy on their behalf. Reminder: all customers are responsible for the Minimum Delivery Charge.
How Do These Charges Appear on My Bill?
For customers who have their energy procured by PG&E and are not participating in a net energy metering program (e.g. NEM2), these charges will appear on your bill as shown below:
CCA customers will also see the Minimum Delivery Charge, but will see the Energy Charge in the CCA section of their bill:
For net energy metering program customers, the Minimum Delivery Charge and Energy Charge are shown in two sections. For more information regarding how net energy metering customers are billed, see the relevant Frequently Asked Question after the screenshots below.
Frequently Asked Questions for Renewable Energy Customers
How does the Minimum Bill affect Net Energy Metering customers?
For Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers, the monthly bill consists of two key parts. The first is the Minimum Bill charge of $10 or $5 for CARE customers which is paid each month, and covers a portion of the fixed costs of serving electric customers. The second is your “Monthly NEM Charges” which shows the sum of the net charges (on energy used from the grid) and credits (produced by the solar exporting to the grid) that have been accrued in that month. Every 12 months, at your solar interconnection anniversary, you receive a "True-up" bill, which reconciles all of the NEM charges and/credits accrued monthly throughout the year. The summary of year-to-date NEM Charges on your monthly bill (labeled “YTD Estimated NEM Charges at True Up”) shows a year-to-date snapshot of all your energy charges and credits accrued monthly to help track what you may owe at True Up. If you used more energy than you created over the course of the year, you'll owe a balance to PG&E.
At the same time, the total Minimum Bill charges paid over the course of the year will be credited back if you owe a balance at the True-up since the minimum bill charges paid over the course of the year also serve as prepayment of charges owed at True-up. As an example, assume the sum of the NEM charges and credits accumulated after 12 months is $390.74, and the corresponding 12-month cumulative Minimum Delivery Charge is $118.96. The True-up amount is $390.74 but the amount owed (before taxes) is only $271.78 as the customers has already paid the $118.96 Minimum Delivery Charge over the 12 months.
When will the Energy Charge be required on my net energy metering energy statement?
You will only be required to pay them at your True-up if the following is true: (1) the total Energy Charge value is a positive amount and (2) the total NEM charges before taxes are less than your total Minimum Delivery Charges.
Using the example in the previous illustration with one exception - the sum of the NEM charges and credits accumulated after 12 months is $100 (instead of $390.74). In this case, the customer is subject to the cumulative Minimum Delivery Charge of $118.96 at True-up since the sum of the NEM charges and credits are lower than the cumulative Minimum Delivery Charge.
Do the Minimum Delivery and Energy Charges discourage residential solar installation?
PG&E has a strong track record demonstrating its leadership and commitment to solar, including:
If you have any questions, please call our solar customer service center at 1-877-743-4112, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also find out more information about net energy metering billing by visiting SOLAR AND RENEWABLES WITH PG&E
For all other inquiries, customers can call our customer service helpline at 1-800-743-5000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.