PG&E Rate Plan selection for EV charging

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


May 8, 2015
Bay Area
Long story short, mid 2016 PG&E retired the E7 plan I’ve been on for 25+ years, offered me E6 and told me E6 has a limited lifespan, during which PG&E would change the E6 rules in their favor.
I became an unhappy E6 customer. So…. I purchased Solar.

I was under the impression that PG&E would annually “true-up” my KWh solar production against my PG&E KWh consumed. I was wrong.

Solar does not make KWh/electricity, Solar makes Money!
Every KWh Solar sends to the PG&E grid, results in a dollar figure in your “PG&E Piggy Bank”. You then use the money in this bank to pay your PG&E bill. The tally of how far ahead or behind you are, is shown on your monthly Energy Statement. On the annual birthday of your Solar going live, a process called True-up results in the dollar difference banked $ vs consumed $ being manipulated. If you owe PG&E money… pay up. If you still have money in the PG&E bank, tough you lose, you don’t get the amount you are ahead, you get $0.03-4 per KWh you overproduced. Why only $0.03-4, because that is what PG&E on average would have paid for a KWh on the open market.

So just how much is a Solar KWh really worth.
Short answer, the same as if you’d purchased one.
If your PG&E Rate plan costs you per KWh, $0.30 at 3pm on a Wednesday, you’d bank $0.30 for making one KWh at 3pm on a Wednesday.

So where is all this going……
If you choose the incorrect PG&E rate plan not only will you adversely affect the amount you’re paying for PG&E KWh consumed. You can adversely affect the dollars you bank for Solar produced KWh.
So….. Buy low, Sell high.

The PG&E website tools did not permit me the analysis required to make a rate decision. The PG&E tools needed 9 months of steady state Smart Meter usage data. That is, usage data where nothing changed on my account… like going Solar!

I found an IOS (iPad/iPhone) application “My PG&E Toolkit” for $8 that does analyze my data.
You do have to trust the app with your PG&E website login credentials. But after it loaded my history, I was able to analyze usage by day, month, bill, whatever you want.

I found out that for the 5 months prior to going Solar, I overpaid my PG&E bill by 20% due to my incorrect E6 rate plan selection. However if I’d let PG&E put me on the default ETOU-A, I would have overpaid 30%.

I’ve not corrected my selection just yet. E6 is closed to new users and if I leave E6 I can’t come back.
I’m going to wait for one more month of Solar/PG&E usage numbers, before I make my Rate selection.

Oh and the app does not yet take into account Solar NEM (v1 or v2) status. With NEM2.0 a surcharge of $0.02/KWh consumed is charged by PG&E above the rate plan cost. This could swing my numbers by as much as $15-20/month. Even with this margin of error, I believe this app will make my Rate selection easy and obvious.

Some of the PG&E rate plans have frighteningly high KWh costs during their peak hours. So much so that I thought I would never choose one. But selling Solar KWh during these peak times and consuming much of my KWh in the cheap overnight hours, has made these plans very attractive. One EV driving colleague has made the move even without Solar after using the Toolkit.

SUMMARY - Don't leave the money on the table. Take a careful look at how PG&E is billing your usage. EV's consume lots-o-juice and many PG&E plans are structured to deter high consumption.

Hope this helps

Very helpful post, thanks. I am actually looking into solar and weighing all of the various options you described. E6 is by far the cheapest for me for the time being. I charge at home sparingly so I am able to keep my overall usage out of E6’s tier 3 rates. All the TOU plans including EV-A are more expensive based on my historical usage mainly because my household is occupied during the day. If I got solar, then yes EV-A would work due to the sell high, buy low concept you described.

To add more complication, I cannot even add a new circuit for a L2 EV outlet since my electrical panel from the 60’s needs to be replaced. Most solar companies will “bundle in” a new panel for a nominal fee. The fee is a lot cheaper than if I had an electrician replace everything separately, plus I can use the federal tax credit on the whole solar installation cost including the new panel.
I did just what you mentioned. Uncle Sam paid 30% of my main panel upgrade price due to bundled into Solar install. $3000 upgrade cost me $2000

If you are good with spreadsheets and want to do your own rate analysis, I have a spreadsheet that will calculate your energy charges on all the applicable residential PG&E rates from Green Button (SmartMeter) data you can download from PG&E in CSV format.

It calculates for E-1, E-TOU-A, E-TOU-B, EV, E-6, E-7, E-9A. However, only the first 4 are open to new enrollments and E-7 and E-9 are actually completely defunct now. However, it is available for historical comparisons. Historical rates are also included, you just have to copy and paste the table for the rate period of interest into the active calculation region.

The PG&E Toolkit is much easier to use, but with my spreadsheet you can do things like add EV charging to your historical usage so you know how much extra it will cost for your own household usage profile.

PG&E Electric Rate Calculator V1.9 (Google Drive XLSX)
Thanks for sharing! I actually started making a spreadsheet to do the very thing you describe, glad I do not need to reinvent the wheel.
I currently have the E-6 rate with PG&E and have solar which I think is the best rate plan for solar. Here's the rub I have two EV's and so they kill me in the winter as Im always in Tier 4 with PG&E

Please tell me if I'm missing something but to make we are looking into adding a second meter to the house just do the EV's and would put that meter on the PG&E EV-B rate So we would be House on E6 Cars on EV-B

Would love your thoughts

sfsoundguy said:
I currently have the E-6 rate with PG&E and have solar which I think is the best rate plan for solar. Here's the rub I have two EV's and so they kill me in the winter as Im always in Tier 4 with PG&E

Please tell me if I'm missing something but to make we are looking into adding a second meter to the house just do the EV's and would put that meter on the PG&E EV-B rate So we would be House on E6 Cars on EV-B

Would love your thoughts

E-6 in Tier 4 with overnight EV charging is way more expensive than EV-A. For my usage pattern (no central air-con) this is my true-up energy charges for calendar year 2015 as calculated by my spreadsheet using then-current rates. We got the e-Golf at the end of April 2015, so the first 4 months include charging 1 EV and the rest of the year includes charging two EVs.

E-1: $1,785.90
E-6: $1,417.47
E-9A: $955.08
EV-A: $907.24

Honestly, if your solar generation does not exceed your household usage (without EV charging), you would be better off joining the Sub-Metering Pilot and paying for the EV charging separately on EV-B. That is much cheaper than modifying your main panel or service entrance to accommodate a second meter. However, if you can get get Net Meter Aggregation with one E-6 Meter and one EV-B meter and cover all your energy charges with the solar, then that would probably be worthwhile. However, I've never heard of someone actually setting up their metering that way.
Sub-Metering Pilot I think that is what we are looking at if by that you mean having a two meter panel. Over a year the Solar covers the power usage of the house perfectly but not the extra power needed for the EVs
As you know your E6 is "tiered". The more KWh's you buy , the higher the cost per KWh.
Not so good for large consumption - EV charging.

EV-A is nice because there are no Tiers. Cost remains constant. However the Peak period cost is quite frightening.
If you consume much during the peak period (people at home) this might not be a good option for you.

EV-B allows you (at your expense $$$$$) to add a second PG&E meter to the home. This second meter is used just for EV charging overnight and gives you a favorable rate.
Better yet, you leave the home on it's existing PG&E meter and rate, to get the best bang for your buck.

So what is the PEV Pilot...
PG&E has already gone through the first PEV pilot and is now rolling out it's second "Phase 2" PEV pilot.
The Pilot will run for about 1 year and can be thought of as a kind of EV-B with out the huge cost of the second PG&E meter.
Once signed up for the PEV pilot, You, at your expense, have installed a Sub-Meter connected to the car charger(s).
Your House meter will still measure all PG&E usage. PG&E simply deducts the sub-meter usage to get the numbers for House alone. Then bills the Sub-Meter consumption separately for the Cars.
I was in the first pilot and it was great. Even the sub-meter hardware was free.

I was not running Solar at the time and so did not have to worry about True-up.
Speaking of True-up... I'm NEM2.0 and one of the changes for NEM2.0 appears to be that a Solar Installation can be applied to multiple PG&E meters. I wonder if the might apply to the PEV Pilot sub-meter? It's a concern because my Solar is sized to zero my bill even with the Cars. I really don't want to be paid $0.04 for a bunch of KWh's at true-up time because my car charging was performed on a non-NEM'ed Sub-meter.
Barry thank you again for the info.. I talked to PG&E today and they are pretty clueless about the PEV Pilot program and then I called one of the companies on the PG&E website and they said the project was currently on hold. I wonder if the program will work with two different chargers a Chargepoint and a Tesla charger.

For me the best plan is keeping the house on E6 with solar which brings me is near zero cost to PG&E and then have the cars on EV-b which would be about $1,100 a year ( we do low miles )

How did you work with on phase 1 can you recommend anyone who knows what they are talking about regarding the PEV Pilot program?

Most people I know that have solar and EV have sized the solar for both together, or realized that they were over-producing for the house and got the EV to soak up some of the "free" kWh. In that situation, the sub-meter pilot is not good because you have to pay the EV-B rate for all sub-metered usage outside of your true-up. However, it sounds like that may work out well for you.

Electric Vehicle Submetering Pilot Program @

The PG&E site above says the Phase 2 Pilot should have started January 16, 2017. I would talk to eMotorWerks about the pilot. Everybody I know that was in the Phase 1 pilot was using their hardware. I'm curious whether ChargePoint is able to use their ChargePoint Home hardware with the pilot program.
In the original PEV Pilot it was all about getting it off the ground and pulling together.
OhmConnect was my MDMA and motor Werks provided the Sub-Meter hardware for free.

I'm not getting that feeling this time.

PG&E is claiming that emoter Werks is a signed up MDMA. Emotor Werks is not signing up participants.
Despite the fact that my original Emotor Werks WattBox sub-meter is still in place and functional, Emotor is claiming it may not work for the new Pilot. I asked PG&E if the requirements for the revenue grade sub-meter had changed and they declined to answer the question and suggested I approach an alternate MDMA.

Emotor Werks has now released a new JuiceBox with revenue grade metering in it. Read between the lines.

IIRC ChargePoint is also an MDMA. And ChargePoint uses Emotor technology in it's smart EVSE.

Currently the Jan 16th launch date was a bust. Participation is limited to 500, and of the 500 only 100 can be NEM customers. It's really a tangle right now.

I think I will be goinng EV-B and get almost the same rates and not have to worry about true-up across two meters.


Do you mean move your whole service over to EV rate or just the cars? I ask because in the summer the cost of the EV rate is very high at peak hours.. For me if I did that I would save in the winter but then get charged way more in the summer because of our Air conditioning.

I downloaded the PG&E Toolkit great app thank you for that and looking at 2016 it states if I was to have been on EV I would have saved 50% but dose it know I have solar? As what I actually paid PG&E for my NEM was way less than the app thinks it was...

Also if yo give up E6 its gone for ever.....

Yes the app can see the data from the smart meter when it goes backwards. So it accounts for solar. It apparently does not yet account for NEM2.0 NBC,s.

I'm thinking whole house to EV-A. Although EV-A will cost me $0.46/KWh 1pm-9pm. my solar arrays are at 206 degrees and make juice in the late day, selling at $0.44/KWh.

BTW for the last five months of 2016 (pre-solar) EV-A would have saved me 20% over the E6 I currently have. With two EVs charging at night the Tier costs me more than the high EV-A peak. M-F the cars take about 22KWh total per night, weekends are lighter, but it forces me up the E6 Tiers til my eyes water!

Basically it comes down to balance. The E-6 Summer peak time period of 1-7pm certainly collects more solar credits than EV does with 2-9pm. However, you will find that charging on EV is far cheaper than E-6. Personally, the Off-Peak price/kWh dominates my total costs. Sure, E-6 may earn $30/month more in credits, but that doesn't mean anything if it costs $60 more to charge the cars overnight. It also has no Peak period in the Winter months.
E6 is great if I can keep myself out of Tier 3 rates. So far I have been able to do this by charging sparingly at home. I can charge close to work for $1/hr which is cheaper than the E6 Tier 2 rate, plus I'm a lower mileage driver.

I am looking into solar and would for sure go EVA if that pans out. You really have no choice since you must switch to a TOU plan under NEM 2.0 anyways.
I stand corrected, if I go solar I could stay on E6 but if I decided to change to EVA I would not be able to change back to E6.
Based on the PG&E tool kit app Id save 45% by switching from E6 to EVA Its numbers seem a bit off as it thinks I pay more than I do

Maybe I should just move the whole house to EVA and save money I would have paid for a second meter which would be thousands.

I just wish there was a place I could go with my past 12 months of bills and history for 2016 and do a side by side for each month of Solar, power usage, and tiers E6 v EV
How far off was the app?
Do you have a rate change in your billing history, or maybe A baseline change.

I was only able to check the last pre-solar 5 months of 2016, due to rate changes, but the app was within a couple bucks of the actual billed amounts.
Did you check it by "Billing Cycle" or do the whole year in one "Custom Date Range".
Maybe you could determine if the error is all year or just before a specific month.