PG&E nearly doubles fee for those who leave for 'clean energy' programs

Peninsula Clean Energy can still work, San Mateo County says

The California Public Utilities Commission voted Dec. 17 to allow Pacific Gas & Electric Company to increase by 95 percent its "exit fee," a monthly charge levied on customers who leave PG&E for other providers. Large numbers of people are expected to exit PG&E for "community choice" energy programs, which give consumers the option to buy more electric energy from renewable sources at competitive rates.

The fee hike is opposed by many proponents of the "community choice" programs. Menlo Park's City Council recently voted to oppose the increase in a letter to the CPUC that said the hike would "profoundly affect the viability" and financial appeal of community choice programs.

The fee will rise to 2.32 cents from 1.16 cents per kilowatt hour, which, for the average customer of a community choice program, such as Marin Clean Energy, would mean a jump to about $13 a month, from $6.70.

Called a "Power Charge Indifference Adjustment," the fee, says PG&E, is intended to ensure that ex-customers "pay their share of costs for energy that was acquired by PG&E to serve them prior to their departure," PG&E says. The fee's purpose, the utility says, is "to ensure that PG&E's remaining customers do not bear any cost created by departing customers who receive their electricity" from another provider.

A Dec. 18 email from Kirsten Pringle of San Mateo County's Office of Sustainability told people not to fear – the county's Peninsula Clean Energy program is still viable. Researchers who conducted the program's feasibility study factored in an increased exit fee, she said. Plus, she added, current energy prices are lower than what was assumed in the technical study.

"The County does not foresee the PCIA fee increase having any significant impact on the launch or overall financial viability of Peninsula Clean Energy," she said.

However, the email also noted that the decision "does have major implications for the viability of CCE (community choice energy) programs in California."

According to the California Alliance for Community Energy, an advocacy group for clean energy in California, PG&E "continued to procure electricity for customers even when it was clear that they would be departing for their local Community Choice program" and continues to expect former customers to subsidize energy they won't use.

● Earlier story: Menlo Park may oppose PG&E fee hike.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


19 people like this
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 23, 2015 at 8:16 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

OF course they are raising the fee. PG&E needs to be able to retain their spending on such important activities like sponsoring SF Giants games, TV commercials, and the list goes on. The State PUC and PG&E are heavily tied to each other as proven in numerous prior lawsuits. This is one more step where the PUC agrees to help PG&E. Going green is band for the utility. Is it any wonder why Tesla's off the grid generator and the vast rise on solar power will replace PG&E.

12 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Edward Syrett is a registered user.

PG&E cannot and should not be replaced. Think it through. What we are seeing is a shift from energy utilities as generators to energy utilities as distributors. PG&E keeps complaining that new developments in renewable and distributed energy sources disrupt its (last-century) business model. PG&E's "solution" is to have the PUC and its political friends in Sacramento stamp out the disruptions by imposing burdensome fees on innovators while continuing to subsidize the old model. This is bound to fail in the long run. The new business model should make PG&E responsible for the delivery systems, mainly gas pipelines and the electrical grid, as well as the billing for consumers' energy use (and reimbursement for consumers' surplus energy generation!). PG&E should NOT be a market maker in energy prices. Consumers should be able to order energy from any supplier that can connect to PG&E's distribution systems, and shop around for the best rates and/or social attributes.

24 people like this
Posted by PG&E Admirer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

The PG&E Attorney who made the filing is CHARLES R. MIDDLEKAUFF. He can be reached by telephone at (415) 973-6971 or by e-mail at

To read the PG&E filing with the CPUC click on the link below.

Web Link

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Su Hong Palo Alto's last day of business will be Sept. 29
By Elena Kadvany | 12 comments | 4,314 views

Electric Buses: Challenges and Opportunities
By Sherry Listgarten | 22 comments | 2,676 views

Natural Wines?
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 881 views

Premarital, Women Over 50 Do Get Married
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 833 views

Stay a part of their day
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 465 views


Register now!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info