The Pioneer Community Energy (Pioneer) Board adopted a bill protection program for residential customers who voluntarily choose to switch from a flat rate plan (E-1) to a Time-of-Use C3 (TOUC3) rate plan.
The TOUC3 rate plan increases charges for electricity used from 4 pm to 9 pm and decreases the cost during other time periods (like at night). Under a time-of-use rate plan, customers can control the cost of their electricity bills by changing how and when they use electricity. Because changing electricity usage habits can be challenging, Pioneer created its bill protection program to eliminate the risk of customers paying more than they would have on a flat rate.
Pioneer’s Bill Protection Program provides protection for 1 year from the date a customer chooses to try the TOUC3 rate plan. Residential customers who try the TOUC3 rate and pay more than they would have on their original flat rate after 12 months (or after switching rate plans again before the 12 months are up), will be refunded the difference. Pioneer provides customers the ability to switch to the TOUC3 rate plan and to learn how to manage their usage to help control costs at no risk.
Time-of-use rates plans are not new, but the TOUC3 plan is. The California Public Utilities Commission directed utilities to create time-of-use rate plans and believes the higher rates from 4 pm to 9 pm will incentivize electricity users to change their usage habits.
For customers in hotter climates, like those in Pioneer’s service area, time-of-use can be challenging. Analysis shows that as many as 15,000 Pioneer customers could save money by switching to the TOUC3 rate plan without changing their habits. However, another 25,000 could pay more if they switched to TOUC3 but did not change their electricity usage to avoid using power from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Pioneer customers have the ability to review their electricity rate plans to see if they could save money, at any time. Visit https://pioneercommunityenergy.ca.gov/customer/residential/ for information on reviewing and changing rate plans. Customers will need to have their PG&E login information or will need to create an account so have your PG&E account number available.
The Bill Protection Program will be available from June 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021, during the transition period for TOUC3.