Understand electric and gas terminology

The list below includes key terms and definitions used by PG&E.

Bundled service customer: Full-service customers who purchase both energy delivery services and energy generation from PG&E. This is in contrast to customers who purchase energy from a third party Energy Service Provider, and pay PG&E for transmission and distribution costs.


Connected load charge: A demand charge based on the capacity rating of the pumps connected to a meter. Connected load charges are generally based on horsepower rating.


Customer charge: Customers on certain rate plans are charged for service. Charges are also based on usage and demand. For gas, the customer charge varies based on average daily usage, with higher charges for higher usage.


Demand charge: A measurement of the highest usage of electricity in any single 15-minute (or 5-minute) period during a monthly billing cycle. Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW). High demand is usually associated with equipment start-up. By spreading equipment start-ups over a longer period of time, you may be able to lower demand and reduce your charges.


Distribution charge: A charge for the lower-voltage system of power lines, poles, substations and transformers directly connecting PG&E’s distribution lines to businesses. Distribution is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).


Generation charges: The cost of creating electricity to power a home or business.


Interval: A period of time. For customers with an interval meter, like a SmartMeter, PG&E usually captures electric usage in 15-minute intervals. Customers can view and download their interval data from their online account, or authorize third parties like energy management firms to receive their interval data.


Maximum Peak Demand: The highest electric use, in kilowatts (kW), during any 15-minute period during hours when peak energy pricing is in effect. The Maximum Peak Demand is multiplied by a dollar amount that varies by rate plan, and added to your monthly bill, if you are on a rate plan with Demand charges, like E19 or some A10 rates.


Meter charge: Customers on some time-of-use electric rates are assessed a meter charge to recover additional equipment costs.


Meter constant: A factor that converts electric meter read differences to kilowatt hours (kWh).


Multiplier: A factor that converts the gas meter read difference to therms. The multiplier corrects for differences in elevation, delivery pressure and the heating content of natural gas.


Off-peak energy charges: Charges for electric usage during lower usage times of day when prices are lower. Off-peak hours vary by season, day of week and on holidays. Typical off-peak rate hours are 9:30 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. Check your rate plan to verify your off-peak hours.


Part-peak energy charges: Charges for electric usage during times of day when demand is going up or down. Part-peak hours vary by season, day of week and on holidays. Typical part-peak rate hours are 9:30 p.m. – noon and 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. on weekdays. Check your rate plan to verify your part peak hours.


Peak energy charges: Charges for electric usage during the highest usage times of day when prices are highest. Peak hours vary by season, day of week and on holidays. Typical peak rate hours are noon – 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. Check your rate plan to verify your part peak hours.


Peak Day Pricing: A voluntary rate plan that lowers your electric rate per kilowatt hour (kWh) for most hours from May 1 to October 31, in return for charging much higher rates during peak hours on 9 to 15 hot summer days. Peak Day Pricing is designed to encourage energy conservation on these very hot summer afternoons.


Peak Demand: See “Maximum Peak Demand.”


Rate plan: The rate a customers agrees to pay PG&E for electricity and gas usage. There are several electric rate plans available to business and agriculture customers. Review detailed plan information.


Service Agreement ID: The identifier used for the point at which a customer receives electricity or gas service. There is generally one Service Agreement ID for every meter. For unmetered services, like streetlights or outdoor lighting, there may be several locations grouped under a single Service Agreement ID.


Summer rates: For most electric rate plans, rates are higher from May 1 to October 31. For natural gas, rates are lower from April 1 to September 30.


Time-of-use electric rate plans: Instead of a single flat rate, customers on a time-of-use plan pay higher rates for energy on weekday afternoons and lower rates at other times. Prices also change by season, with higher prices in the summer and lower prices in the winter.


Transmission charge: The cost of transmitting electricity from power plants, high-voltage lines and towers to the distribution system.


Usage: The kilowatt hours (kWh) or therms consumed during a specified period, described as “meter constant” or “multiplier.”


Winter rates: For most electric rate plans, rates are lower from November 1 to April 30. For natural gas, rates are higher from November 1 to March 31.