What You Need To Know About Pioneer Energy in Placer County

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What You Need To Know About Pioneer Energy in Placer County

We at DC Solar are always happy to be a part of our Northern California Community. We are gladly sharing some information to our Placer County residents regarding the upcoming changes with Pioneer Community Energy and PG&E, as we want our customers and Placer county residents to be well aware of this matter. As residents of Placer County affected by these Pioneer matters, some DC Solar team members attended a Pioneer Community Energy Forum in Lincoln yesterday evening. Based on the information gained in that session as well as the Pioneer website, we are sharing the most current status of data we know regarding this Community Choice Aggregation.

Beginning February 1, 2018, Placer County residents will be automatically enrolled as Pioneer Community Energy customers, unless you choose to manually opt out here prior to this date. It should also be noted that solar customers with NEM in Placer County will not be automatically enrolled until a date coincident with their annual true-up date with PG&E, and Pioneer notices will be sent to customers prior to their true-up dates. There is also a 60-day grace period following February 1st, 2018 in which one may opt-out without a fee. As of now, Pioneer has not established any fees for opting-out at any date- however, the Pioneer board meets several times a month and could elect to establish fees at any time.

According to the Pioneer Community Energy website, Pioneer electricity rates will benefit customers in that rates are set at 3% less than PG&E rates for all classes. The Pioneer rate schedule can be viewed here. However, we want our buyers to be aware that this probable savings will be well less than a penny per kWh, which will likely total a few dollars a month (think $1.00-$5.00) for residential customers. On a larger scale, the annual benefit to the Placer County economy will be in the range of $2.5 million. Customers will continue to see bills from PG&E, with PG&E delivery charges as well as Pioneer electric generation charges. Customers will not be double billed or double charged- PG&E simply collects payments as partners on behalf of Pioneer. Energy Efficiency Rebate and Incentive Programs will still be available to customers enrolled with Pioneer.

Below is a sample of what a Placer County resident can expect to see on their future PG&E statements, with Pioneer as the electric supplier. As PG&E will still maintain the transmission and delivery system, Placer County residents will see PG&E charges for the delivery services.

For customers switching to Pioneer, Net Energy Metering (NEM) for solar customers will be grandfathered under PG&E on the NEM design they had with PG&E. As NEM design stems from transmission and delivery and not generation, PG&E will continue to control NEM. Pioneer customer enrollment for NEM will begin later in 2018, closer to one’s true-up date. Starting in April of 2019, Pioneer will cash out Net Surplus Generators at $0.03 per kWh, which is slightly higher than PG&E’s rate. Net Consumers will have any credits set to zero at that time. Pioneer will repeat this cash out process in April of each year. It should be noted that the Pioneer Board, which meets several times a month, has yet to decide whether a monthly or annual true-up system will be employed for its roughly 15,000 solar customers in Placer County. For this reason, we suggest that any solar customers opt-out at least until Pioneer finalizes its true-up process.

Pioneer Board members for Placer County include Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, Colfax City Council member Kim Douglass, Kirk Uhler from the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Auburn City Council member Bridget Powers, Peter Gilbert from the Lincoln City Council, Loomis Town Council member Brian Baker, and Rocklin City Council member Greg Janda.

Currently, although Pioneer will offer the option for customers to opt-out of the Pioneer program at any time without a fee, there is no mechanism in place to prevent the Pioneer board from enacting an opt-out fee at any time.

“I have done extensive research and have found that Pioneer customers “could” save up to less than a quarter of a penny per kWh ($0.0024 cents),” said Chasin Scott, VP of DC Solar. “The possibility of saving a quarter of a penny per kWh doesn’t seem to be a great ROI when considering the possibility of a future opt-out fee. Pioneer has yet to finalize these kinds of things, and I think buyers really need to beware here. I can tell you that I am opting out before February 1, 2018 to avoid the possibility of monthly true-ups with my solar system and the possibility of a potential opt-out fee. If Pioneer truly ends up being a good thing, I can opt-in for free down the road.”

Happy 2018 from our DC Solar Electric team! We have an awesome new promotion for January- a new TV with your signed contract! Contact us today for all the details and the best deal around on solar.

Posted by DC Solar Electric Inc. on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Automatic enrollment with Pioneer begins April 1 2018, and after that point there is a 60-day grace period for opting out. As so little information on fees and solar true-ups has been provided by Pioneer to date, we at DC Solar suggest Placer County residents opt-out of this program, especially if you are a solar customer, until further information by Pioneer is released. You can choose to opt-out of the Pioneer program today at http://pioneercommunityenergy.ca.gov/opt-out/or by calling 1-844-937-7466, toll-free.

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