PG&E Electric Rates: Rate Plans to Lower Your Essential Electricity Costs |

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PG&E Electric Rates: Rate Plans to Lower Your Essential Electricity Costs

Serving over 5 million households in California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the largest investor-owned utility in the US. As such, when PG&E raises electric rates or updates its rate plans, households from Santa Barbara to Eureka feel the effects.

In this article, we’ll explore how much electricity costs for PG&E customers in 2023, the various rate plans and adders, and some frequently asked questions. Understanding how much electricity costs and the various ways to buy it can help you create a plan for lowering your electricity bill without sacrificing the comforts and perks of living in the 21st century.

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Let’s start with a recap of PG&E electric rates today and where we can expect them to go in the near future.

What are PG&E residential rates in 2023?

The average electric rate for PG&E residential customers is 38 cents per kWh as of September 1, 2023. However, the cost per kWh of electricity ranges from 26 to 64 cents depending on your rate plan and the time of year.

In May 2023, the average electricity cost was 30 cents per kWh in California, according to the EIA. So, PG&E electric rates are markedly above the state average – even if they’re much lower than the eye-popping rates for San Diego Gas & Electric customers — and nearly double the national average of 17 cents per kWh.

In the bigger picture, PG&E electric rates have increased sharply in recent years, and are expected to continue increasing at around 10.4% per year through 2026, according to the 2023 Senate Bill 695 report filed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The chart below shows the average bundled residential rate at the end of each year from 2019 to the latest filing in 2023, as reported by PG&E, and the rates forecasted by the CPUC in the Senate Bill 695 report.

chart depicting recorded and forecasted PG&E electric rates from 2019-2026

The disconnect between the electric rates recorded through September 2023 (38.2 cents/kWh) and where they are forecasted to end up (35 cents/kWh) is likely due to varying data collection and reporting methods between PG&E and the CPUC.

PG&E’s data shows the average residential rate increased from 25 to 38.2 cents per kWh from 2019 to 2023 – a 53% increase in less than four years. Meanwhile, the Senate Bill 695 report forecasted nominal rates reaching 42 cents per kWh by 2026 after three more years of double-digit annual rate increases.

PG&E rate increase history

Year Average bundled residential rate (cents/kWh) Change from previous year (%)
2019 25 N/A
2020 26.3 5.1%
2021 28.6 8.7%
2022 33.8 18.1%
2023 38.2 13.2%

So, with rates increasing at least through 2026, it’s worth considering all of the options for lowering your essential electricity costs. Let’s start by examining PG&E’s residential rate plans.

PG&E Tiered Rate Plan (E-1)

The first and most basic PG&E tariff schedule to consider is the Tiered Rate Plan, also known as E-1, in which the cost of electricity is dictated by your usage during the billing period.

For example, as of September 2023, electricity costs 36 cents per kWh until you reach your monthly Baseline Allowance, and then the price jumps to 45 cents per kWh.

chart depicting PG&Es tiered rates in 2023

What is baseline electricity usage?

The Baseline Allowance is an allotment of essential electricity usage that is less expensive than the rest of the electricity used during a billing cycle.

For PG&E customers, the Baseline Allowance is based on four things:

  1. Your billing territory (P-Z)
  2. The billing season (Summer or Winter)
  3. Your heating service (all electric, basic electric, or gas)
  4. The number of days in the month

So, if you live in Santa Cruz (Territory “T”) and have basic electric service, your baseline allowance for summer months would be 6.5 kWh per day (based on this chart). In a 30-day month like June, that amounts to 195 kWh.

If you used 500 kWh during the month of June, the first 195 would be billed at 36 cents per kWh and the remaining 305 would be billed at 45 cents per kWh, putting your monthly bill around $207.

PG&E Tiered rates example bill

Usage Rate* Cost
Tier 1 195 kWh 36 cents per kWh $70
Tier 2 305 kWh 45 cents per kWh $137
Total 500 kWh $207

*Based on Baseline Allowance of 195 kWh

According to PG&E, the Baseline Allowance is designed to be 50-70 percent of the average usage for each territory, so most Tiered Rate customers can expect to pay Tier 2 pricing for a substantial chunk of their electricity usage – which adds up quickly.

PG&E’s SmartRate™ Add-On

One way to lower your PG&E electricity rate is through the SmartRate™ add-on plan. In this plan, you essentially volunteer to reduce your electricity consumption during SmartDays™.

If you enroll in the SmartRate™ program, the trade-off goes something like this:

  • You’ll receive a credit worth around $0.008 (.8 cents) per kWh for all of your usage that’s not between 4-9 pm during billing periods that feature at least one SmartDay event.
  • When SmartDay events are called, you will be charged an extra 60 cents per kWh for all usage between 4-9 pm.

So, let’s say you use 500 kWh outside of 4-9 pm during a June billing cycle in which at least one SmartDay event is called. You would receive a $4 bill credit (500 kWh x $0.008) for being enrolled in the SmartRate™ program.

Now, let’s say you use 3 kWh to dry a load of laundry in the 4-9 pm window on a SmartDay event. That 3 kWh will cost you an extra $1.80 (3 kWh x $0.60). In this scenario, you would have to keep your SmartDay consumption below 6.67 kWh in order to break even for the month.

So, the SmartRate™ add-on is relatively high-risk and low-reward, but it can be added onto select rate plans to lower your electricity costs.

Speaking of rate plans… let’s take a look at the Time-of-Use (TOU) rate schedules that PG&E offers

PG&E Time-of-Use Rates

PG&E offers two time-of-use rate plans as of September 2023, although some customers may be on legacy plans that are no longer offered to new customers. These plans are known as TOU-C and TOU-D and there are some key differences to note.

  • The TOU-C plan has a Peak Pricing window of 4 to 9 p.m. and lower rates for usage below the Baseline Allowance
  • The TOU-D plan has a Peak Pricing window of 5 to 8 p.m. and does not have lower rates for usage below the Baseline Allowance

PG&E TOU-C vs TOU-D rate plans

On-Peak hours 4 to 9 pm every day 5 to 8 pm only on non-holiday weekdays
Peak price (summer)* 54 cents/kWh 52 cents/kWh
Off-peak price (summer)* 46 cents/kWh 38 cents/kWh
Lower rates for Baseline Allowance? Yes No
Eligible for SmartRate™ add-on? No Yes
Summer months June-September June-September
Winter months October-May October-May

*Rates as of September 1, 2023 rounded to nearest whole cent and subject to change.

Let’s take a closer look at each plan.


Electricity rates in the TOU-C rate schedule range from 32 to 54 cents per kWh, based on the season, hour, and Baseline Allowance.

Customers in this plan pay a lower rate for the kWhs in their Baseline Allowance. However, the tradeoff is a Peak pricing window that stretches from 4 to 9 p.m. and remains in place during weekends and holidays.

chart depicting the rates for PG&E's TOU-C schedule in 2023

The attractive feature of PG&E’s TOU-C plan is that you can pay as little as 32 cents per kWh under your Baseline Allowance during off-peak hours in the winter. So, if you have relatively low electricity consumption and the ability to avoid using electricity during the evening, then the TOU-C plan can help you pay less for electricity.

However, if you aren’t careful with your consumption, you’ll end up paying 54 cents per kWh for a hefty portion of your electricity!


PG&E’s TOU-D rate schedule is fairly straightforward. Off-peak electricity costs 38 cents per kWh in the summer and 39 cents per kWh in the winter with no credit for your Baseline Allowance.

Meanwhile, Peak rates are 52 cents per kWh in the summer and 43 cents per kWh in the winter, and are only in effect from 5 to 8 pm during non-holiday weekdays. That means that electricity consumption during weekends and holidays is billed using Off-Peak rates.

Chart depicting PG&E TOU-D electric rates for 2023

With no Baseline Allowance, rates are actually a bit higher in PG&E’s TOU-D schedule. However, the shorter three-hour Peak window is easier to avoid (or stomach) than the five-hour window in the TOU-C schedule.

So, if you know your average electricity consumption is much higher than your Baseline Allowance, the short Peak window of the TOU-D schedule may prove the lesser of two evils, especially if you can shift consumption to Off-Peak hours and weekends.



PG&E EV rate plans

While much cheaper and cleaner than fueling a gas car, charging an electric vehicle (EV) to drive 37 miles per day (the national average) adds around 300 kWh to your monthly electricity consumption. Given this extra usage, PG&E offers special EV charging rate plans that encourage customers to charge during Off-Peak hours to lower their costs and help stabilize the grid.

There are three PG&E rate plans to consider if you are charging an EV at home:

  • EV2-A is a plan that bundles your home and EV charging consumption into one rate schedule
  • EV-B separates your home and EV charging consumption into two rate schedules
  • E-ELEC is a plan for customers with high consumption due to home electrification upgrades like EV charging, battery storage, electric heat pumps (for water and/or climate control), and solar panels

Which PG&E EV charging rate plan is best?

Base charge? No No ~$15 per month
Separate meter for EV charging? No Yes No
Best time to charge 12 am to 3 pm 11 pm to 7 am 12 am to 3 pm
Worst time to charge 4 to 9 pm 2 to 9 pm 4 to 9 pm
Off-peak price* (summer) 28 cents/kWh 29 cents/kWh 35 cents/kWh
Eligible for SmartRate™ add-on? Yes No No
Summer months June-September (4 months) May-October (6 months) June- September (4 months)

*Rates as of September 1, 2023 rounded to the nearest cent and subject to change.

Let’s take a closer look at each plan.


The EV-2A rate schedule applies to both home and EV charging consumption and features the low Off-Peak rates of 28 cents per kWh year-round. Partial Peak rates run from 3 to midnight, with a 5-hour window of Peak rates between 4 and 9 pm.

In addition, the EV-2A plan currently has no basic monthly charge and is eligible for the SmartRate™ add-on.

chart depicting PG&E EV2-A electric rates for 2023

PG&E’s EV-2A rate plan is most advantageous for customers who can shift their home and EV charging usage to the ample Off-Peak hours of midnight to 3 pm. For example, if you work from home and can do most of your heating, cooling, laundry, and EV charging in the morning, you may be able to buy most of your electricity at the relatively low price of 28 cents per kWh.


The most notable feature of the EV-B rate schedule is that it requires a separate meter for EV charging, which means your home usage and EV charging are billed on different rate schedules.

The benefit of this plan is that you can charge your EV at 26 cents per kWh in the winter (the lowest rate offered by PG&E) and 29 cents per kWh in the summer during the Off-Peak hours of 11 pm to 7 am.

The drawback is that if you do need to charge during summer Peak hours, you’ll end up paying 64 cents per kWh (the highest price per kWh of any PG&E plan).

Chart depicting PG&E EV-B electric rates for 2023

PG&E’s EV-B plan is most advantageous for customers who can restrict their EV charging to overnight hours and have higher household usage than they can’t easily shift out of Peak hours. The idea is to combine a household rate schedule that has more forgiving Peak rates with the EV-B’s low Off-Peak charging rates.


The E-ELEC plan is a jack-of-all-trades that applies to PG&E customers with one or more of the following home electrification upgrades:

  • EV charging
  • Battery storage
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Heat pump climate control

And, according to PG&E, all solar owners under the NEM 3.0 Solar Billing Plan will be transitioned to the E-ELEC rate schedule in December 2024 (although other messaging says December 2023).

The idea behind this plan is to pay a ~$15 basic monthly charge in exchange for rates that are lower, on average, the TOU-C and TOU-D plans, which can be quite advantageous for customers with high electricity usage.

For example, if you have a heat pump HVAC system, it’s likely cheaper to pay $15 per month in order to lower your winter Off-Peak rates to 30 cents per kWh instead of 39-41 cents per kWh in the TOU-C and TOU-D plans. (Pro tip: If you use more than 167 kWh per month to heat your home with a heat pump in the winter, the E-ELEC plan becomes more economical than the TOU-D plan.)

Chart depicing PG&E E-ELEC electric rates for 2023

Frankly, the E-ELEC rate schedule may not be the best option for homeowners that only have EV charging and none of the other home electrification upgrades, since the Off-Peak rates are not as low as the other EV charging plans. However, if you have multiple home electrification upgrades – or solar under the Solar Billing Plan – this may be your best option.



PG&E solar rate plans

In April 2023, PG&E and California’s other major investor-owned utilities (SCE and SDG&E) adopted a Net Billing Structure affectionately known as NEM 3.0. While existing solar owners were grandfathered into their NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0, new solar owners who applied for interconnection after April 14, 2023 are subject to the new Solar Billing Plan.

According to PG&E, solar owners under the Solar Billing Plan will be automatically transferred to the E-ELEC rate schedule in either December 2023 or 2024 (depending on which information you look at).

How much does PG&E pay for solar power?

The key feature of PG&E’s Solar Billing Plan is export rates (compensation for excess solar production pushed onto the grid) that are, on average, 75% lower than the price of buying electricity from the grid. These rates hover around 4-6 cents during the morning and early afternoon and can exceed $2 per kWh during certain peak windows in September.

For example, the chart below shows the E-ELEC import rates versus the NEM 3.0 export rates for August weekdays.

Chart depicting PG&E E-ELEC import rates vs solar billing export rates for summer 2023

Under this billing structure, solar owners earn between 5.5 and 6 cents per kWh of electricity produced during peak solar production hours of 10 am to 2 pm (hours 10-14) while paying 57 cents per kWh for electricity pulled from the grid during summer Peak hours when their solar production is winding down.

Clearly, buying for 57 cents and selling for 5.5 cents is not a great deal. However, using battery storage, solar owners can store and use their cheap solar production and virtually avoid interacting with the grid altogether.

Better yet, new consumption-only batteries designed specifically for this purpose cost roughly two-thirds of the price of traditional backup batteries.

Solar + battery vs PG&E grid

Let’s say you are a PG&E customer with an average monthly usage of 750 kWh per month. Does it make more sense to pay for solar and battery or buy electricity from the PG&E grid?

Well, to offset your consumption you’d need a 6 kW solar system, which, at $4.5 per Watt would cost $27,000 – or $18,900 after claiming the 30% federal solar tax credit.

The store your solar production to use during nights and evenings, you’d need a 6 kWh consumption-only battery. While battery prices vary, it’s realistic to expect a gross price around $8,500, or $5,950 after the 30% tax credit (possibly lower if you claim the SGIP rebate.)

That puts the net cost of your system at $24,850. The chart below shows how the cost of solar and battery stacks up against PG&E rates rising at 3% annually over the next 20 years (which is intentionally conservative).

chart depicting the cost of solar and battery versus electricity from the PG&E grid in 2023

Over 20 years, electricity from solar and consumption-only battery is around one-third to half of the cost of buying electricity from the PG&E grid. Today’s batteries are warrantied for 10-15 years (and lasting much longer), so even if you need to replace your battery after 15 years, you’ve already saved upward of $28,000 – far more than what batteries will cost in the late 2030s.

Lower your electricity costs with solar

With above-average electricity rates (even for California), PG&E customers have a ton of potential to reduce their essential electricity costs. While choosing a PG&E rate schedule that suits your consumption habits can shave down your monthly bill, nothing is as effective as providing your own electricity with solar panels and battery storage.



Frequently asked questions about PG&E electric rates

What is the new rate for PG&E in 2023?

The average residential electric rate for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers is 38 cents per kWh, as of September 1, 2023. However, the cost per kWh ranges from 26 to 54 cents per kWh depending on the rate schedule, season, and time of day.

How much does PG&E pay per kWh?

In the Solar Billing Plan (known as NEM 3.0), PG&E compensates solar owners at an average rate around 8 cents per kWh. This is markedly lower than the average cost of 38 cents per kWh to import (or buy) electricity from the grid.

However, using battery storage, solar owners can store and use their own electricity to avoid buying and selling from the grid at unfavorable rates.

What are the cheapest PG&E hours?

Electricity is cheapest during the Off-Peak hours between midnight and 7 am in all of PG&E’s Time-of-Use and EV charging rate schedules. However, this Off-Peak window stretches from midnight to 3 pm in the TOU-C, TOU-C, EV2-A, and E-ELEC plans.

It’s worth noting that the cost of electricity does not change throughout the day in the E-1 residential Tiered Rate Plan.


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