The Minimum Bill has been included in PG&E's residential rates for years. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created the Minimum Bill to ensure that all customers (even those who use little or no electricity) pay for a portion of the costs to provide electricity service.

 

In July 2015, the CPUC approved a decision to increase the monthly Minimum Bill from $3.60 to $5 for CARE customers and $4.50 to $10 for those not on CARE, effective September 1, 2015. The Minimum Bill increase was for all residential customers. For most residential customers, this change increased the monthly bill only when their usage is so small that a Minimum Bill applies. For renewable energy customers, this charge is applied each month but may be credited back at the end-of-year "True-up."

 

The charges for the Minimum Bill include components for the generation of electricity and the delivery of energy. The generation portion of the bill is used to pay for the electricity itself, while the delivery portion is used to pay for the transportation of the electricity over PG&E's grid.

 

On March 1, 2016, the Minimum Bill, which previously was applied to the combined total of delivery and generation charges, will now only be applied to the delivery charge. This will be known as the Minimum Delivery Charge and will remain $10 ($5 for CARE). Separately, you will now see a charge for generation called the Energy Charge. These charges will be separated on your bill where they used to be shown as one item.


For renewable energy customers, the Energy Charge will not affect the monthly Minimum Bills, which will remain at approximately $10. However, the change may increase the annual True-up bills of some customers.

 

For non-renewable customers, these charges will appear on your bill as follows:

 

Minimum Bill image with circle around charges

 

For further information on Minimum Delivery Charge and the Energy Charge, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Minimum Bill?

The Minimum Bill has been a part of PG&E's residential rates for many years. It was designed by the CPUC so that every customer, including those with very little or no energy usage, contributes a portion to the costs of providing electricity service regardless of how much energy you use.

What charges are included in the Minimum Bill?

PG&E's rates include components for the generation of electricity and the delivery of energy. The generation portion of the bill is used to pay for the electricity itself, while the delivery portion is used to pay for the transportation of the electricity over PG&E's grid, as well as other CPUC-approved charges like those to fund energy efficiency and low-income programs. On March 1, 2016, the Minimum Bill, which previously was applied to the combined total of delivery and generation charges will now only be applied to the delivery charge and will remain $10 ($5 for CARE customers).

Who has to pay the Minimum Delivery Charge and Energy Charge?

All PG&E customers are subject to pay the Minimum Delivery Charge and Energy Charge (with the exception of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers, including customers with on-site renewable power such as rooftop solar. This charge is applied in a given billing period if the electricity used does not exceed the minimum amount. See below for how this is applied to renewable customers.

How will the Minimum Bill charge impact Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers?

CCA customers will be required to pay the $10 Minimum Delivery Charge ($5 for CARE), but will not be required to pay the charge for generation (Energy Charge).

How often will the Minimum Bill increase?

Based on the July 2015 decision by the CPUC, the next increase for Minimum Bill is not scheduled to take effect until 2018.

 

Frequently Asked Questions for Renewable Energy Customers


How does the Net Energy Metering Bill work today?

The monthly bill consists of two parts. The first is a minimum bill charge of $10 to cover a portion of fixed costs, payable each month. The second is your Net Energy Metering balance summary, which is a year-to-date snapshot of all your energy charges and credits. Every 12 months, at your solar connection anniversary, you receive a "True-up" bill, which reconciles all of the NEM charges and credits from your monthly NEM balances. If you used more energy than you created over the course of the year, you'll owe a balance to PG&E.

What is the effect of the Minimum Bill increase that took place on September 1, 2015?

On September 1, 2015, the Minimum Bill was increased from $3.60 to $5 for CARE customers and $4.50 to $10 for those not on CARE. As an example, for those not on the CARE program, this means you would pay monthly bills that total $120 (12 months x $10) instead of $54 (12 months x $4.50) -- an increase of $66 over the course of the year. However, since the Minimum Bill amounts paid by a customer each month are deducted from the annual True-up, for most customers the total amount paid in a year will be unchanged and the resulting amount of the True-up will be lessened.

Which customers see higher energy statements due to the change?

A small number of customers, with a True-up less than $120, will see a higher bill. Among this set of customers, the largest annual increase would be $66 for customers with annual True-up bills less than $54.

How will the Minimum Bill calculation change on March 1, 2016, affect Net Energy Metering customers?

Beginning March 1, 2016, the $10 Minimum Bill charge represents delivery charges only. You will be charged separately for generation, depending on the amount of your usage. This will not affect the monthly Minimum Bills paid by Net Energy Metering customers, which will remain at approximately $10. However, this change may increase the annual True-up bills of some customers.

How will the generation charge be reflected on my energy statement?

The generation charges for energy PG&E provides (referred to as Energy Charges) are basic commodity costs related to energy usage. These charges are tracked monthly but will only be billed at True-up if the cumulative total is a positive amount and when the total NEM charges before taxes are less than your total Minimum Delivery Charges.

 

Minimum Delivery Charge comparisons for NEM customers

Comparison of Two True-up Balances: $500 True-up/$4.50 (Prior to Spet. 2015) Minimum-54 Minimum, 446 True-up; $500 True-up/$10 (Took Effect Spet. 2015) Minimum-120 Minimum, 380 True-up; $100 True-up/$4.50 (Prior to Spet. 2015) Minimum-54 Minimum, 46 True-up; $100 True-up/$10 (Took Effect Spet. 2015) Minimum-120 Minimum, 0 True-up

 

When the True-up amount owed is greater than $120 there is no change in the yearly amount paid; the True-up is simply reduced. In the example of a $100 True-up above, the customer pays an additional $20 with the increased minimum delivery charge that took effect September 1. In an over-generation scenario, no True-up is owed, only the monthly minimum is paid. In this case, the total annual increase is around $66. Please note, Energy Charges are not reflected in the diagram above, as the charges vary by each customer's monthly usage.

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:

  • Interconnecting more solar rooftops (200,000 to date) than any other utility in America, in fact, 25 percent of all rooftop solar in America is in PG&E territory.
  • For the safety of our customers, PG&E is always available, providing grid energy even when the sun doesn't shine.
  • A faster interconnection process to connect the customer to the grid that takes just one to five days, compared to an industry average of four weeks.
  • A full-time solar customer service center to address solar customers' unique needs.
  • Making solar available to low-income communities through our 10-year partnerships with GRID Alternatives and Habitat for Humanity.

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, visit Solar and Renewables with PG&E

For all other inquiries, customers can call our 24-hour customer service helpline at 1-800-743-5000.