Many of our customers are concerned about their electricity bills this winter. We hope these replies to questions we have been hearing will help you better understand your rates, programs you may qualify for and actions you can take to manage electricity costs.
This charge on my bill for Peninsula Clean Energy — is that a surcharge?
No, it is not a surcharge. Electricity generation and electricity delivery are two separate components of your total bill.
- Peninsula Clean Energy provides electricity generation for 97% of San Mateo County. These customers get electricity from us that costs less than that of PG&E and is 100% carbon-free.
- PG&E provides electricity delivery and maintains the power lines that deliver the power. Charges for electricity delivery are the same whether you buy electricity generation from PG&E or from Peninsula Clean Energy.
Why are my energy bills so high?
Many factors can affect energy bills. There is typically a spike in winter bills due to the higher use of methane gas used for heating. We will not address that—as we provide only electricity—but recommend that you inspect your bill to understand each component.
Because of the pandemic, people are spending more time at home than a year ago and using more energy. This can be exaggerated during winter with its colder temperatures and shorter days. Lights, for example, may stay on more than twice as long as in the summer.
In addition, depending on your rate schedule, cost per kilowatt-hour for electricity delivery is significantly higher above certain levels of usage. So, if you use enough electricity to push you into the next usage tier, although your electricity generation (Peninsula Clean Energy) rates do not increase, your electricity delivery rates (PG&E) can rise significantly.
Are electricity rates higher?
Electricity generation and electricity delivery are two separate components of your total bill.
For electricity generation, Peninsula Clean Energy reduced rates in 2020 and again this year. These rates are 5% lower than PG&E generation rates.
During this time, for electricity delivery, PG&E increased rates for electricity delivery last year and again this year.
The net result was an overall increase in residential electricity costs for the average residential customer. Note that while rates are higher overall, our customers are paying less through our ECOplus electric generation service than they would if they received electric generation from PG&E.
How can I lower my bill?
Find out about how you can lower your bill, including:
- Qualify for discounts: CARE, FERA, LIHEAP and Medical baseline rates offer significant discounts.
- Optimize your rate: There may be a more advantageous rate that you can take advantage of, such as Time-of-use, and then moving your usage to lower-cost off-peak hours where possible.
- Increase efficiency: learn about ways to reduce your energy usage and income-qualified programs that can help pay for efficiency measures
Where can I get help paying my bill?
Learn about assistance that is available to help you pay your bill.
What long-term things can I do to reduce energy costs?
When you make decisions to buy or rent a home, consider that solar energy and high efficiency electric heat pumps for space and water heating can reduce energy costs.
Where can I get more information to help understand my energy bill?
You can get information about the roles of Peninsula Clean Energy, rates, and how to understand your bill here.