Understanding PG&E Time of Use Rates in 2024

Industry insights · May 7, 2024

Understanding your energy consumption patterns can lead to smarter choices and potential savings on your electricity bills. With Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) offers customers a flexible pricing structure that reflects the true cost of electricity during different times of the day.

Let's embark on a journey to explore how TOU rates work and how you can make the most of them to manage your energy usage efficiently.

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What are PG&E Time of Use Rates?

PG&E TOU rates create a pricing structure for electricity consumption that varies depending on the time of day.

With TOU rates, customers pay different electricity prices based on when they use power, with the rates typically divided into peak, off-peak, and sometimes shoulder periods.

Peak hours usually correspond to times of highest grid demand, while off-peak hours are when demand is lowest.

TOU rates aim to incentivize consumers to shift their electricity usage to off-peak times, thereby reducing strain on the grid during peak periods and promoting energy conservation.

This pricing model is designed to reflect the actual cost of generating electricity at different times and encourages more efficient energy consumption behaviors.

How Do PG&E Time of Use Rates Work?

PG&E TOU rates operate on a simple principle: the cost of electricity varies depending on the time of day. With TOU rates, customers are charged different prices for electricity consumption based on predetermined peak, off-peak, and sometimes shoulder periods.

By adjusting their electricity usage to off-peak times, customers can potentially save on their bills.

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Understanding Peak Hours

Peak hours refer to the times of the day when electricity demand is at its highest.

These periods are typically when people are most active, such as early mornings when households wake up and prepare for the day, and early evenings when they return home from work or school.

During peak hours, electricity usage spikes as people engage in activities that require significant energy consumption, such as cooking, heating, or cooling homes, and using appliances and other electrical consumption.

Due to the high demand during peak hours, electricity providers often charge higher rates for consumption during these periods.

PG&E TOU Rates Offered

PG&E offers several TOU rate plans tailored to meet the diverse needs of its customers. Each plan has its own features and is designed to cater to specific customer segments.

Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 4 - 9 p.m. Every Day) E-TOU-C

Key Features: This plan applies peak pricing from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day, encouraging energy usage during off-peak hours.

Intended Customer Segments: Ideal for customers who can shift their energy consumption to off-peak times, such as those with flexible schedules or energy-efficient homes.

Time-of-Use (Peak Pricing 5 - 8 p.m. Weekdays) E-TOU-D

Key Features: Peak pricing under this plan occurs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, promoting energy conservation during high-demand periods.

Intended Customer Segments: Suited for customers who primarily consume energy during weekdays and can adjust their usage habits during peak hours.

Comparing E-TOU-C and E-TOU-D Rate Plans

PGE Time of Use

Tiered Rate Plan (E-1)

Key Features: The Tiered Rate Plan (E-1) offers a fixed rate for a certain amount of energy usage, with higher rates applied for usage exceeding the baseline allocation.

Intended Customer Segments: Catered to customers who prefer a predictable billing structure and maintain consistent energy consumption levels.

Home Charging EV2-A

Key Features: Designed specifically for electric vehicle (EV) owners, this plan offers discounted rates for charging EVs at home, typically during off-peak hours.

Intended Customer Segments: Geared toward EV owners looking to minimize charging costs by taking advantage of off-peak rates.

Electric Vehicle Rate Plan EV-B

Key features: Similar to Home Charging EV2-A, this plan is tailored for EV owners and offers specific pricing structures optimized for EV charging needs.

Intended Customer Segment: Aimed at EV owners seeking specialized rates and incentives for charging their vehicles at home.

Electric Home (E-ELEC)

Key Features: This plan provides a comprehensive solution for all-electric homes, offering competitive rates and incentives to support electrification efforts.

Intended Customer Segment: Designed for customers with all-electric homes or those considering transitioning to electric appliances, promoting sustainability and energy efficiency.

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Choosing the Best PG&E Time of Use Rate Plan for You

Choosing the best PG&E TOU rate plan involves evaluating various factors to match your energy consumption habits, lifestyle, and budget.

Rate Plan Selection

Selecting the most suitable TOU rate plan requires understanding your energy usage patterns and preferences.

Factors to Consider

  • Peak Hours: Determine if the peak hours specified in each plan align with your daily routine. Plans with peak hours matching your low-energy usage periods can potentially save you money.
  • Energy Consumption Habits: Assess your typical energy usage throughout the day. If you can adjust activities such as laundry, cooking, and charging devices to off-peak hours, you may benefit from plans with lower rates during those times.
  • Budget: Evaluate your budgetary constraints and how each rate plan's pricing structure fits within them. While some plans may offer lower rates during off-peak hours, they may have higher rates during peak periods.

Steps to Analyze Personal Energy Usage Patterns

  • Review Historical Usage: Analyze your past energy bills to identify peak usage hours and seasonal variations.
  • Assess Daily Routine: Consider your daily activities and when you typically use energy-intensive appliances and devices.
  • Estimate Potential Savings: Use PG&E's online tools or calculators to estimate how each rate plan could impact your monthly bills based on your usage patterns.
  • Experiment with Time Shifting: Temporarily adjust your energy usage habits to align with different rate plans' peak and off-peak hours. Monitor the impact on your bills to determine which plan offers the most significant savings without significantly disrupting your lifestyle.

Monitoring and Recording Daily Energy Consumption

  • Keep a daily log of your activities that involve energy usage, such as using large appliances such as stoves, electronics, and heating and cooling systems.
  • Note the time when you engage in each activity and estimate the duration of usage.
  • Record any significant changes in your routine, such as working from home or adjusting thermostat settings.

Tips for Monitoring

  • Use smart meters or energy monitoring devices to track your electricity usage in real-time. Many utility providers offer online portals or mobile apps that allow you to view your consumption data conveniently.
  • Set reminders to record your energy usage regularly, preferably daily or weekly, to capture any fluctuations or trends over time.
  • Consider installing energy monitoring devices on specific appliances or circuits to identify which devices contribute the most to your energy consumption.

Tools and Resources for Tracking Energy Usage

  • PG&E and other utility providers often offer tools and resources to help customers track and analyze their energy usage data.
  • Explore online platforms provided by your utility company, which may offer detailed insights into your energy consumption patterns, including historical data and personalized recommendations.
  • Utilize energy management apps or software that allow you to input your energy usage data and generate reports or visualizations to better understand your consumption patterns.

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Utilizing Solar and Storage with TOU Rates

The benefits of integrating solar and storage systems offer a promising pathway toward greater energy independence, cost savings, and environmental sustainability.

By combining solar panels with battery storage technology, homeowners can maximize the utilization of solar energy, mitigate peak energy demand, and optimize their electricity costs, especially during peak rate periods in TOU rate plans.

Solar panels harness the abundant energy from the sun, converting it into electricity to power homes. During peak rate periods, when utility charges are typically higher due to increased demand, solar energy production can offset the need to draw electricity from the grid, thereby reducing reliance on expensive grid power and lowering electricity bills.

Battery storage systems complement solar panels by storing excess solar energy generated during the day for use during peak rate periods or when solar production is low, such as at night or during cloudy days. By storing surplus energy in batteries, homeowners can further optimize their energy usage, minimize grid reliance during peak hours, and avoid peak rate charges.

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Final Thoughts

As you delve deeper into the realm of PG&E TOU rates, remember that knowledge is power. By analyzing your energy consumption patterns, exploring the available rate plans, and leveraging tools and resources, you can take control of your energy usage and potentially lower your electricity costs.

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The FranklinWH energy management and storage system integrates solar, grid, battery storage, and generator to maximize solar ROI and optimize home energy efficiency.

It has a 13.6 kWh storage battery and can be expanded to 204 kWh per controller, which is robust and flexible enough to meet different household energy needs.

During a prolonged outage when the battery has been drained up, the FranklinWH system can restart the PV system with reserved power, so the PV system can generate power again if there is sufficient sunshine.

The FranklinWH system is programmed to match the TOU rates plan with customized settings. With or without a PV system, the FranklinWH system can save energy bills by using the energy generated from solar or the grid during off-peak hours to offset peak hour rates.

Still have questions about the PG&E TOU rates plan or FranklinWH system? Book a free consultation with our energy expert!

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1. What are the peak hours for TOU rates?

The peak hours for TOU rates vary depending on the specific rate plan and geographical location. However, typically, peak hours occur during periods of high electricity demand, such as weekday evenings when people return home from work or school and engage in energy-intensive activities. For example, peak hours for some TOU rate plans with PG&E may fall between 4 PM to 9 PM on weekdays.

2. How can I adjust my energy usage to save on TOU rates?

To save on TOU rates, consider shifting energy-intensive activities to off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower. For example, running major appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers during off-peak times can lead to significant savings.

Adjusting thermostat settings to reduce heating or cooling during peak hours and utilizing programmable thermostats can help manage energy usage more efficiently.

Taking advantage of natural daylight for illumination and investing in energy-efficient appliances and lighting can also contribute to lowering overall energy consumption and reducing costs on TOU rates.

3. Do TOU rates vary by season?

Yes, TOU rates often vary by season. Utilities like PG&E may adjust the peak and off-peak hours as well as the corresponding pricing to account for seasonal changes in energy demand patterns.

For example, peak hours may occur later in the day during summer months, when air conditioning usage is high, while they may shift to earlier in the day during winter months when heating demands increase.

These seasonal variations in TOU rates aim to align with actual energy consumption patterns and optimize pricing to reflect the changing demands on the electrical grid throughout the year.

4. Is it worth investing in solar panels with TOU rates?

Investing in solar panels with TOU rates can be a worthwhile endeavor for many homeowners and businesses. Solar panels allow you to generate your own clean energy, reducing reliance on grid electricity and potentially offsetting higher rates during peak hours.

When combined with TOU rates, solar panels can help maximize savings by producing energy during peak rate periods, allowing you to avoid purchasing expensive grid power.

Additionally, with the decreasing cost of solar technology and potential incentives or rebates available, the long-term financial benefits of investing in solar panels with TOU rates make it a compelling option for those seeking energy independence and cost savings.

5. Can I switch between TOU rate plans easily?

Yes, switching between PG&E TOU rate plans is relatively easy and can usually be done online or by contacting PG&E's customer service.

PG&E offers flexibility for customers to change their rate plans based on their evolving energy needs and preferences.

Before switching, it's advisable to review the details of each rate plan and consider factors such as your energy consumption patterns and lifestyle to ensure you choose the most suitable plan for your needs.

Keep in mind that some rate plans may have eligibility criteria or enrollment periods, so it's essential to check with PG&E for any specific requirements or restrictions before making a switch.

6. Are there any penalties for not adhering to peak hour restrictions?

Yes, there can be penalties for not adhering to peak hour restrictions in PG&E's TOU rate plans. These penalties typically come in the form of higher electricity rates charged during peak hours. If customers consistently exceed their allotted usage during peak periods, they may incur significantly higher electricity bills.

Additionally, failure to comply with peak hour restrictions can contribute to increased strain on the grid, potentially leading to broader energy supply issues and higher overall costs for both the utility company and consumers.

Therefore, customers need to understand and adhere to peak-hour restrictions to avoid financial penalties and support grid stability.

7. How can I monitor my electricity usage to maximize savings?

To maximize savings on your electricity bills, consider monitoring your electricity usage regularly using tools such as smart meters, energy monitoring devices, or utility-provided online portals or apps. Keep track of your daily energy consumption patterns and identify peak usage periods when electricity rates are typically higher.

By adjusting your energy-intensive activities to off-peak hours and minimizing usage during peak times, you can optimize your electricity usage and take full advantage of TOU rate plans to lower overall costs.

Additionally, explore energy-saving measures such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, improving insulation, and implementing smart home technologies to further reduce your electricity usage and expenses.

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