22 Aug 2014
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Letter: Marin Clean Energy vs PG&E

Robert Wenig of Buena Vista Avenue breaks down the details of his electric bill in an attempt to compare Marin Clean Energy and PG&E.

Letter: Marin Clean Energy vs PG&E

I was surprised this month when I opened my bill and saw that I was switched (perhaps slammed) into Marin Clean Energy.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Discounting the “green” focus of Marin Clean Energy, will my electric bill be cheaper with Marin Clean Energy?

I have no clue – and trying to get accurate information from either Marin Clean Energy or PG&E is absolutely impossible.

My home has solar panels – approximately a 2500 Watt System.

I am on a time of day metering system, I believe that the tarrif is “E‐7”.

With PG&E, if I generate more power than I use – I sell the excess power back to PG&E.

Since the solar system does not operate at night, I buy power at night. Depending upon the day, during peak times, the solar system generates enough power for the house. As winter nears and the days grow shorter – the solar system becomes less useful.

With Marin Clean Energy – I am not sure if they buy back (i.e. credit) the excess power. PG&E suggests that I ask Marin Clean Energy about this – so surely something is up.

And then it gets even more confusing:

If you are a PG&E Customer, the rate structure looks like this: (For bundled service – includes electricity and distribution if I am reading this right)

Summer Peak Off-Peak Baseline Usage .31312 KW .07921 Tier 1 (above base) .33 .097 Tier 2 .48 .24

So, you ask Marin Clean Energy – what is their rate structure:

They say (for summer) – Peak is .30 (i.e. 30 cents), Off‐Peak is .05. No tiers, just a flat rate structure.

(In both cases, Peak is 12 PM – 6PM, Monday to Friday)

So, Marin Clean Energy is cheaper, right?

Not so fast – Marin Clean Energy just sells power. You have to pay PG&E for distribution. If you then look at the E‐7 rate sheet, and you see that for unbundled service, you pay .13 (13 cents) for distribution.

So, now Marin Clean Energy is more money for Baseline and Tier 1, and basically a break‐even for Tier 2.

Only if you get to Tier‐3 – will Marin Clean Energy Cost less (odd that the Green Provider rewards you for squandering energy).

So, how does the average homeowner make an informed decision?

I have spoken with Marin Clean Energy (888‐632‐3674).

I have spoken with normal PG&E( 800‐743‐5000), the Community Energy Side of PG&E (866‐743‐0335) and the Solar Side of PG&E (877‐743‐4112).

The call center at Marin Clean Energy is staffed by full trained reps who have expertise in politically correct double talk – i.e. you can never get a straight answer.

PG&E has more normal people who are not as gifted with words – however they can’t help me either.

What do I do?

Robert Wenig
181 Buena Vista Avenue

Let us know what you think of Robert's letter. And see what others had to say about Marin Clean Energy: Are You Happy with Marin Clean Energy So Far?

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