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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Information

What is CleanPowerSF?
State law allows cities and counties like San Francisco to pool the electricity demand of their residents and businesses for the purpose of buying electricity on behalf of those customers. These programs are called Community Choice Aggregation programs.

CleanPowerSF is San Francisco’s Community Choice Aggregation program and provides San Francisco with new clean energy alternatives. In May 2016, CleanPowerSF launched and gave residential and commercial electricity consumers in San Francisco a choice of having more of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric—at competitive rates. When customers choose CleanPowerSF, not only do they reduce their personal carbon footprint, but they also decrease San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions and help combat global climate change. By law, CleanPowerSF is an opt-out program. If you do not want to participate in CleanPowerSF, you must opt- out to stay with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) - currently providing 29.5% renewable energy.


How does it work?

PG&E's electricity is currently 29.5% California-certified renewable. The rest of PG&E’s energy comes from nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric power and other unspecified energy sources.

CleanPowerSF buys more of your electricity from cleaner sources such as solar and wind. CleanPowerSF's default product, called Green, is 35% California-certified renewable and the premium product, called SuperGreen, is 100% California-certified renewable. In partnership with PG&E, that cleaner, CleanPowerSF electricity is delivered to your home or business through PG&E’s existing power lines.  As a CleanPowerSF Green customer, other than receiving cleaner electricity at competitive prices, all other aspects of your electricity service remain the same. PG&E continues to send you a monthly bill, operate and maintain the electrical grid, and respond to outages. A portion of the payments you make on your bill to PG&E are transferred to the CleanPowerSF program so it can continue to purchase and develop cleaner energy supplies on your behalf.


Does CleanPowerSF replace PG&E?
No. CleanPowerSF is a partnership with PG&E. CleanPowerSF supplies its cleaner electricity supply to customers and PG&E continues to deliver that energy to your home or business. PG&E also continues to do the billing, turn on and off power when you move, maintain the power lines, and resolve outages.

What is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)?
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 was passed to establish Community Choice Aggregation. It allows a local jurisdiction to become the default electric supplier in its jurisdiction, and offers an opportunity for Californians to locally influence the sources of their electricity. Marin Clean Energy was California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program, followed by Sonoma Clean Power and Lancaster Choice Energy. CleanPowerSF is San Francisco’s Community Choice Aggregation program.

Who governs and administers CleanPowerSF?

For nearly 100 years, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has been generating 100% greenhouse gas-free electricity from the Hetch Hetchy Power System for vital City services and facilities, including for example, City Hall, San Francisco International Airport, local fire stations and public schools, and SF General Hospital. CleanPowerSF is administered by the same clean energy experts. We also deliver your great-tasting Hetch Hetchy Tap Water and operate the award-winning San Francisco Combined Sewer System.


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Rates and Billing

Will my bill go up with CleanPowerSF?

CleanPowerSF’s default Green product offers San Franciscans cleaner electricity than they currently receive from PG&E at competitive rates. While PG&E rates fluctuate throughout the year, CleanPowerSF will set electricity rates once a year. Today, these rates are less than PG&E rates.

For customers who choose to enroll in SuperGreen, CleanPowerSF’s 100% California-certified renewable energy product, rates will not exceed a two-cent premium over CleanPowerSF's basic energy rates per kilowatt hour delivered – about $6 more per month for the average residential customer and $33 more per month for the average small commercial customer. Exact rates for Green and SuperGreen are posted on the cleanpowersf.org website in the Rates page. CleanPowerSF rates may change over time. 

How does CleanPowerSF set its rates?
CleanPowerSF electricity rates are set through the same public process that is used to set water and sewer rates here in San Francisco. This process includes San Francisco Rate Fairness Board review, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) review and approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Members of the public are welcome to comment at publicly noticed hearings for each step of the process.

Will I still receive my CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline discounts with CleanPowerSF?
If you receive a low-income discount on your electricity bill through PG&E’s CARE, FERA or Medical Baseline Allowance programs, that discount will continue to apply as a CleanPowerSF customer.

Do I get billed separately by CleanPowerSF?
No, you will continue to receive one monthly bill from PG&E. The general look, appearance and set-up of your bill will not change, although CleanPowerSF electricity supply charges will replace PG&E electricity supply charges.

There are three main components to your electricity service: generation, transmission and distribution. Currently, PG&E rolls all three components of your service into one line item called “Current Electric Charges” under the “Account Summary” on the first page of your bill.

CleanPowerSF only assumes responsibility for the generation portion of your service. As a CleanPowerSF customer, you will see separate lines under the “Account Summary” on your PG&E bill for CleanPowerSF generation charges and PG&E’s electric delivery charges. You will also see a new page in each bill detailing your CleanPowerSF electric generation charges.


What is the PCIA?

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) is a charge assessed by PG&E. It is intended to recover PG&E's above-market costs for generation resources acquired prior to a customer's switch to a third-party electric generation provider. When we set CleanPowerSF rates, we reduced our rates by the amount of the PCIA charges so that the total would not exceed PG&E’s current rates. Our intention is to protect CleanPowerSF customers from paying more because of the PCIA.


Who do I call with questions about my CleanPowerSF bill?
For questions or comments regarding CleanPowerSF you may call us at 415-554-0773 or email us at cleanpowersf@sfwater.org.

Does CleanPowerSF offer a Balanced Payment Plan (BPP) like PG&E does?
Not yet. CleanPowerSF intends to offer customers a Balanced Payment Plan (BPP) option for generation charges that aligns with the BPP offered by PG&E. We intend to allow CleanPowerSF customers to receive a more predictable monthly bill for their energy generation, transmission and distribution, but we still have to coordinate how that will work with PG&E. For the convenience of BPP customers, CleanPowerSF will not enroll current BPP accounts until the CleanPowerSF BPP is available.

Can PG&E raise delivery fees on CleanPowerSF customers above those of non-CleanPowerSF customers?
No. PG&E must provide the same transmission and distribution rates for all customers in their service area whether or not they receive electricity from PG&E or a CCA such as CleanPowerSF.


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Product Options

What is CleanPowerSF’s Green Product?
CleanPowerSF’s Green product contains 35% California-certified renewable energy (from wind power), starting at 0.25% below equivalent PG&E rates. The electricity PG&E currently provides San Francisco customers is only about 29.5% renewable.

What is CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen Product?
For a few dollars more each month (initially about $6 for the average residential customer and $32 for the average small commercial customer), you can receive 100% California-certified renewable energy with CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen product. Because CleanPowerSF is not-for-profit, SuperGreen is about much more than just receiving the cleanest energy available in California. As a SuperGreen customer, you’ll reduce greenhouse gases, fight global climate change, and, over time, support the development of a local, renewable energy infrastructure that will create local jobs.

Can I switch between the Green and SuperGreen services?
Yes, you may switch between Green and SuperGreen at any time. To switch, visit cleanpowersf.org or call 415-554-0773.


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Enrollment and Opt-Out

When and where is CleanPowerSF service available?

CleanPowerSF is available to all San Francisco electric customers since May 2016. Customers are automatically enrolled in CleanPowerSF’s Green product (cleaner energy at competitive rates) in certain parts of the city starting since May 2016, but any San Francisco electricity customer can enroll early at 

cleanpowersf.org for the next upcoming enrollment offering. 


How do I enroll in CleanPowerSF?
Anyone with a PG&E electric account in San Francisco can sign up for CleanPowerSF today. If you are the customer of record on your PG&E account, you can enroll in CleanPowerSF now by visiting cleanpowersf.org. All you need is your PG&E account number. 

By law, CleanPowerSF is an opt out program. This means that unless you opt out, you will automatically be enrolled in the program when it is offered in your area.  Since May 2016, the City is phasing-in CleanPowerSF service to select geographic areas. If you are located in one of these areas, you will receive two notices from CleanPowerSF prior to your enrollment in the program. These notices describe the program terms and conditions and your right to opt-out and stay with PG&E.

After enrollment into CleanPowerSF, you will receive another two notices over a two month period reminding you of the terms and conditions and the opportunity to return to PG&E electric supply service. After this initial enrollment and opt-out period, you will be subject to additional charges and other limitations if you opt to return to PG&E service.

The first phases will enroll a small portion of the City’s total electric load, so to ensure your participation, enroll early by visiting cleanpowersf.org.

How do I sign up for SuperGreen?
Have your PG&E account number handy and visit cleanpowersf.org to enroll now for SuperGreen service. You must be the customer of record on the PG&E account in order to enroll.

How do I know when my service begins?
We are still finalizing our enrollment plans. We will inform residents and businesses before CleanPowerSF begins enrolling customers in their neighborhoods. If you reside in one of those neighborhoods, do nothing and you will receive CleanPowerSF's cleaner energy. It's that simple. If your neighborhood is not yet targeted for automatic enrollment, you can sign up at cleanpowersf.org.


Do I have to participate in CleanPowerSF? How can I opt-out?
You can opt out of CleanPowerSF any time after you are scheduled for enrollment. Once your area is scheduled for automatic enrollment in CleanPowerSF, you will receive at least four notices by U.S. Mail detailing the program and your options--including opt out instructions.

Why can’t I opt out now?
Customers can opt out once their account is scheduled for enrollment in CleanPowerSF.

My neighbor received a notice but I haven’t received anything. Why?
CleanPowerSF will automatically enroll customers in phases throughout various neighborhoods. When your account is scheduled for automatic enrollment, you’ll receive at least four notifications by U.S. Mail with more details about the process and your options. If you’re eager to join CleanPowerSF, you don’t have to wait for automatic enrollment – enroll early at cleanpowersf.org.

Why am I automatically enrolled in CleanPowerSF? I never signed-up for it.

Historically, investor-owned utilities (like PG&E) have been the default service provider for customers in their jurisdictions. The State of California believed there should be more options for customers to choose from. In 2002, California passed legislation allowing local utilities to aggregate their customers' purchasing authority to oversee their own electric generation in partnership with the investor-owned utility. Under California’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) law, this “default” provider status is transferred from the PG&E to the local Community Choice Aggregation program, if a program is adopted by the local government.


CleanPowerSF believes strongly in giving San Francisco energy customers the power to choose. If you prefer not to receive CleanPowerSF service, you can opt out at any time after your service is scheduled for enrollment.

I just moved to a new address and I want to establish service. How do I sign up? CleanPowerSF is introduced in phases across San Francisco. If you wish to sign up for CleanPowerSF service prior to receiving notice of automatic enrollment, please visit cleanpowersf.org to enroll early.

Is there a fee for opting out?
Customers who opt out of CleanPowerSF before or within the first 60 days following the start of service can return to PG&E at no cost. Customers that opt out of CleanPowerSF service more than 60 days after service starts will be subject to a termination fee ($5 for residential customers and $25 for non-residential customers).


Can I return to CleanPowerSF after I opt out?
Customers who opt out before starting CleanPowerSF service or within their first 60 days of CleanPowerSF service may return to CleanPowerSF service at any time. Customers who opt out after their first 60 days of CleanPowerSF service will be subject to PG&E’s terms and conditions of service, including not having the option to return to CleanPowerSF for one year. For more information regarding PG&E’s terms and conditions, visit pge.com/cca.

Does CleanPowerSF offer a net energy metering program for qualified solar electric and other distributed generation systems?
CleanPowerSF offers a net metering program, which you can learn more about here. However, to address the unique needs of each individual net metering customer and to ensure a seamless transition to CleanPowerSF service, existing net metering customers will be enrolled in CleanPowerSF on a separate schedule. A member of the CleanPowerSF team will reach out to existing net metering customers to transition their accounts to CleanPowerSF during their regular net metering true-up period.

What is CleanPowerSF’s position on “Smart Meters”?
Under state law, PG&E continues to own and maintain the electricity meters. CleanPowerSF does not have any control over metering technology. Contact PG&E directly for more information about meters.


Can I participate in CleanPowerSF if I don’t live in San Francisco?

Unfortunately, no, but programs like CleanPowerSF are developing in nearby cities and counties. Check with your local government for already established or upcoming CCA programs.


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Source of Energy

Where does CleanPowerSF energy come from?
CleanPowerSF buys more of your electricity from California-certified renewable sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric. 35% of CleanPowerSF’s default Green energy product will come from these renewable sources, while 100% of CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen energy product will come from these sources.

Long-term, a goal of CleanPowerSF is to invest ratepayer dollars to build new, renewable energy facilities in California and within and around San Francisco itself. This “build-out” will create local green jobs over the long-term.

What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)? Will CleanPowerSF use RECs?
Renewable energy projects produce two products: 1) electricity and 2) Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). While the electricity powers our homes and businesses, the REC product is what conveys the environmental attributes of the renewable electricity. These products may be purchased together or separately, as either “bundled” or “unbundled” products. As renewable generators produce electricity, they create one REC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity placed on the grid (by comparison the average San Francisco home uses about 3,700 kilowatt-hours per year). If the physical electricity and the associated RECs are sold to separate buyers, the electricity is no longer considered “renewable” or “green.” Only the holder of the REC can claim to have used renewable energy.

CleanPowerSF is only using RECs bundled with the electricity produced by renewable energy projects. As a result, you can feel comfortable knowing that the renewable energy you buy from CleanPowerSF is helping to displace non-renewable energy within California.


For more information on RECs, see the US Environmental Protection Agency: http://www3.epa.gov/greenpower/gpmarket/rec.htm

How can I be sure CleanPowerSF is actually delivering the renewable energy content it promises?
CleanPowerSF will share information about our renewable energy contracts and commitments, and will regularly report on its activities at the public meetings of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Further, all electricity providers, including CleanPowerSF and investor-owned utilities such as PG&E, are required by law to report the amount of renewable energy delivered to their customers to the California Energy Commission and their customers. CleanPowerSF will provide this information to its customers each year.

How does CleanPowerSF acquire its electricity supplies?
CleanPowerSF acquires electricity supplies through a competitive bidding process to ensure the lowest price for customers. CleanPowerSF also intends to offer a Feed-In Tariff program, through which local developers can create and sell electricity from small renewable energy projects directly to us at a set price, provided that they are located in San Francisco.






Last updated: 7/13/2016 10:18:07 AM