What is CleanPowerSF?
CleanPowerSF is a not-for-profit program of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), which partners with PG&E to provide cleaner energy at competitive rates to San Francisco electricity customers. California law allows cities and counties like San Francisco to pool the electricity demand of their residents and businesses, and purchase electricity on behalf of those customers. These programs are called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs.
CleanPowerSF began serving customers in May 2016, giving residential and commercial electricity consumers in San Francisco the option to have more of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar and wind—at competitive rates. By law, CleanPowerSF is an opt-out program; customers can stay with PG&E’s generation service if they choose to do so. When customers join CleanPowerSF’s service, they reduce the carbon footprint associated with their electricity service, support the growth of local renewable energy projects, and combat global climate change
What is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)?
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 was passed to establish Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in California. The law allows a local city or town to become the default electric supplier, offering an opportunity for local communities to influence the sources of their electricity. CleanPowerSF is San Francisco’s CCA program. Many California communities operate CCA programs, and CCAs now serve nearly 2 million customers in the state. For more information on other CCA programs, visit cal-cca.org.
Does CleanPowerSF replace PG&E?
No. CleanPowerSF works in partnership with PG&E. We supply our cleaner electricity to PG&E’s power lines, and PG&E continues to deliver that energy to your home or business. PG&E also continues to send you your bill, turn electricity on and off when you move, maintain power lines, and respond to outages and emergencies.
Who operates CleanPowerSF?
CleanPowerSF is operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), a department of the City and County of San Francisco. The SFPUC has been providing San Francisco with 100% greenhouse gas-free hydroelectric energy for the past 100 years from the Hetch Hetchy Power System. CleanPowerSF is run by the same clean energy experts. The SFPUC also delivers your great-tasting Hetch Hetchy Tap Water and operates the award-winning San Francisco Combined Sewer System.
Can I participate in CleanPowerSF if I don’t live in San Francisco?
Unfortunately, no, but programs like CleanPowerSF are available in many California cities and counties. Check with your local government to see if there is a CCA program in your service area or visit www.cal-cca.org to find other active CCA programs.
Where does CleanPowerSF energy come from?
CleanPowerSF sources more of your electricity mix from California-certified renewable resources such as solar and wind. Our Green service delivers 48% renewable energy, and features renewable resources like wind power from the Shiloh Wind Project in Solano County and the Geysers Geothermal Project in Sonoma County. It also includes conventional sources like hydroelectric power, a greenhouse gas-free source of electricity, and natural gas.
Our SuperGreen service features 100% renewable electricity. This service features renewable wind power from the Shiloh Wind Project in Solano County and solar power from Sunset Reservoir in San Francisco.
CleanPowerSF invests ratepayer funds into supporting new renewable energy projects in California and the Bay Area. This “build-out” will create green jobs in our region and in other parts of the state. For example, CleanPowerSF has purchased power from a new solar energy project being built in northern Los Angeles County, through a 22-year contract. In addition, CleanPowerSF has entered into a 15-year contract to purchase power from a new wind power facility that will be built in the Tehachapi-Mohave Wind Resource Area in Kern County, starting in 2020.
Will My Power Be Affected by PG&E's Bankruptcy Isssue?
PG&E is a valued partner and CleanPowerSF is monitoring the situation. We have been assured by PG&E that they are not going out of business, and they do not expect any impact to natural gas or electric service to customers as a result of the Chapter 11 process. You can contact PG&E with any questions you may have and you can find more details on their website.
What are the differences between CleanPowerSF’s products and Renewable Energy Credit (REC) suppliers?
CleanPowerSF is a not-for-profit, City-run program that procures and supplies electricity to our customers, using renewable energy that is delivered directly into the California electrical grid. We offer two products: Green and SuperGreen. Our Green service is the default service for all CleanPowerSF customers. It contains 48% renewable energy and is competitively priced with PG&E rates. Our SuperGreen service offers 100% renewable energy for a small premium.
Some private companies sell unbundled renewable energy credits (RECs) to consumers who wish to increase the renewable energy content of the power they use. Typically, these unbundled RECs sourced from renewable energy plants that do not deliver their power into California. Since it began service in May 2016, CleanPowerSF has not purchased any unbundled RECs to serve its customers.
If you purchase unbundled RECs from third parties, participation in CleanPowerSF will not change or cancel your participation in those programs. In fact, if you desire, it is possible to participate in CleanPowerSF and purchase unbundled RECs from third parties. However, as a CleanPowerSF customer you may be able to reduce or eliminate your purchases of third party unbundled RECs. Because CleanPowerSF’s Green product includes about 10% more renewable energy than PG&E’s standard energy offering, you can reduce your purchase of unbundled third-party RECs and still meet your renewable energy goals. You can also eliminate your purchases of third party unbundled RECs entirely by electing to take service on CleanPowerSF’s 100% renewable SuperGreen product, which comes at a small premium. If you elect to receive SuperGreen service with CleanPowerSF, you will already be receiving 100% renewable energy generated in California and will not need to purchase unbundled RECs from a third-party provider.
Enrollment and opt-out
Why was I automatically enrolled in CleanPowerSF?
CleanPowerSF operates under a state program called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which was approved by the California legislature in 2002. This law requires that all customers are automatically enrolled and are also offered the option to opt out. This means that you now have a choice of who provides your energy and can remain with CleanPowerSF or opt out and return to PG&E generation services.
How do I know when my account is being enrolled in CleanPowerSF?
When your account is scheduled for enrollment, you will receive two notices in the mail from CleanPowerSF prior to your enrollment in the program. These notices describe the program terms and conditions and your right to opt out.
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 PG&E’s terms and conditions.
How can I opt out?
Customers can opt out of CleanPowerSF anytime without restrictions during their scheduled enrollment period. During this enrollment period, you will receive at least four notices in the mail about the program. To opt out, visit our opt-out webpage or call 415-554-0773.
You can return to PG&E's bundled service at any time after the enrollment period. PG&E offers the following options for returning to PG&E bundled service after the enrollment period:
- You may return to PG&E service on your next meter read date, following a 5-business day processing window. At that time, CleanPowerSF will stop billing you for electricity and PG&E will place your account on its Transitional Bundled Commodity Cost rate (“TBCC”, or “transitional rate”) for 6 months. The transitional rate is based on the energy market and can change over the 6-month period. Once that 6-month period is over, PG&E will return you to your standard bundled rate.
- The second option is a 6 Month Advanced Notice Return to PG&E bundled service. If you choose this option CleanPowerSF will notify PG&E that you will be returning to their generation service in 6 months. During those 6 months, you’d remain with CleanPowerSF at our standard rate and, at the end of the 6 months, you’d return to PG&E under your standard bundled rate.
With either option, you would be required to make a one-year commitment to PG&E bundled service before being able to switch again.
For more information about PG&E’s Terms and Conditions please consult PG&E’s website.
How do CleanPowerSF rates compare to PG&E?
CleanPowerSF’s default Green service 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. Find current CleanPowerSF rates at cleanpowersf.org/rates.
How do I know you won’t raise your rates once I join?
Our goal is to set one rate for the entire year, providing customers more rate stability. Rates will always be 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 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. More information on public meetings is available at sfwater.org.
Will I still receive my CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline discounts with CleanPowerSF?
Yes. CARE, FERA, and Medical Baseline are available to CleanPowerSF customers as well as PG&E customers. Your discounts will remain in place, regardless of enrollment with CleanPowerSF or PG&E.
Can I switch between CleanPowerSF’s Green and SuperGreen services?
Yes, you may switch between Green and SuperGreen service at any time. Give us a call at 415-554-0773.
How does the PG&E Budget Billing option work with CleanPowerSF?
If you are a customer who uses the Budget Billing (previously called Balanced Payment Plan) option with PG&E, you will continue to receive your gas and electric delivery charges from PG&E in the Budget Billing form. CleanPowerSF is currently developing a comparable option for CleanPowerSF generations, however, in the meantime your electric generation charges from CleanPowerSF will not be included in your Budget Billing calculation and will vary from month to month, depending on your usage.
The average residential Budget Billing customer will see about a $2.80 per month decrease in their bill from April to October. CleanPowerSF plans to implement its Budget Billing program by November, when the average San Francisco residence would begin to see higher bills. If you would like an estimate on what the impact may be for you, please contact us.
What is the PCIA?
The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) is a charge assessed by PG&E on your electricity bill. It is intended to recover PG&E's above-market costs for electricity generation resources that were acquired prior to a customer's switch to a third-party electric generation provider. Although CleanPowerSF has no control over PG&E’s PCIA charge, we set our rates with the PCIA charges in mind so that the total cost to CleanPowerSF customers is competitive with what you’d pay for PG&E generation service.
Does CleanPowerSF offer any programs for solar/Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers?
Yes, CleanPowerSF’s NEM program works similarly to PG&E’s program but offers monthly billing and a higher net surplus compensation rate, available if your solar panels generate more energy than you consume over a 12-month period. Learn more about CleanPowerSF’s NEM program.
Does CleanPowerSF offer an Electric Vehicle (EV rate) and are CleanPowerSF customers eligible for PG&E’s EV discounts and rebates?
Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers
What is Net Energy Metering and how does it work?
Net Energy Metering (NEM) allows customers that install on-site renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, to receive bill credits when they generate more power than they need. When you use electricity, your meter records consumption from the grid, which is used to determine utility charges. When you generate more electricity than you use, that excess electricity is sent out to the grid and your meter will record credits that will be applied to future electricity bills.
What are the advantages of participating in CleanPowerSF’s NEM program?
CleanPowerSF pays NEM customers a premium rate for net surplus electricity generation which is 2 to 3 times higher than PG&E’s. Additionally, when you use energy from the grid, you are receiving cleaner electricity and supporting the development of new renewable energy resources. Residential and small commercial CleanPowerSF NEM customers receive monthly bills for net energy consumption, which helps avoid a large true-up bill. CleanPowerSF customers looking to install solar panels can take advantage of the SFPUC’s GoSolarSF incentive. Learn more at sfwater.org/gosolarsf.
How is CleanPowerSF’s NEM program different from PG&E’s NEM program?
As a CleanPowerSF customer, your Annual True Up will now consist of two components: a generation component handled by CleanPowerSF, and a distribution component handled by PG&E.
CleanPowerSF will track the charges and credits for the generation portion of your electricity service. Over the course of the year, CleanPowerSF NEM service provides monthly billing, meaning that any net consumption charges are billed monthly to avoid a large true-up bill at the end of the year. At the end of the April billing cycle, CleanPowerSF trues up customer accounts (regardless of your PG&E True Up Date) and pays a premium rate for net surplus generation.
PG&E will track charges and credits for the distribution portion of the bill, which are trued up on the True Up Date stated on your bill. Monthly bills may include a minimum charge and other state mandated charges.
Everything else remains the same. CleanPowerSF customers are able to participate in the different types of NEM offerings, including, for example, Virtual NEM, Virtual NEM for Multifamily Affordable Housing, and NEM Aggregation.
What happens to my PG&E NEM credits when I enroll with CleanPowerSF?
When you transition to CleanPowerSF generation service, PG&E will true-up your existing NEM balance. CleanPowerSF is enrolling customers close to their PG&E true up date to avoid an early true up. However in limited cases, this transition may result in a true-up bill or a loss of accrued PG&E bill credits. If that happens to you, don’t worry―we’re here to help make sure you get the most from your NEM participation. Call us at (415) 554-0773 to discuss your options.
Can I choose between Green or SuperGreen service? How does SuperGreen work if I am a NEM customer?
CleanPowerSF NEM customers may elect to receive either our basic Green service or our 100% renewable SuperGreen service. SuperGreen is a great choice for NEM customers, because it ensures that 100% of the electricity you use – either generated from your solar on site or consumed from the grid – is 100% renewable. Plus, as a SuperGreen customer, you’ll also help San Francisco invest in local, renewable energy infrastructure that will create local jobs and stabilize energy prices.
Will my CARE or FERA discount still apply if I am a CleanPowerSF NEM customer?
If you’re enrolled in one of PG&E’s Assistance Programs, such as California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electricity Rate Assistance (FERA) programs, those programs continue to apply to you as a CleanPowerSF customer.
What are the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions factors for CleanPowerSF’s products and are they certified by The Climate Registry?
CleanPowerSF’s GHG emissions factor for the 2017 calendar year was 0 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents (lbs CO2e) per megawatt-hour (MWh) for our Green product and 0.00 lbs. CO2e/MWh for our 100% renewable SuperGreen product. CleanPowerSF will be publishing its calendar year 2018 emissions factor in the coming months.
CleanPowerSF is a member of The Climate Registry (TCR), and we expect to have a TCR-verified emissions factor for 2016, 2017, and 2018 for our Green service by the middle of 2019.
Does CleanPowerSF exceed the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Requirements?
California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that all load serving entities provide a minimum of 28% renewable energy to customers, increasing to 33% by 2020. Our Green product currently offers 48% renewable energy. With SuperGreen, our 100% renewable energy product, we acquire an additional 72% renewable energy to meet 100% of each participating customer’s usage. By participating in CleanPowerSF, customers are committing to “green up” the balance of their energy demand with renewable energy.
Will CleanPowerSF retire Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) on my company’s behalf?
CleanPowerSF retires RECs on behalf of all our customers each year. CleanPowerSF does not track REC retirement by individual customer. However, we ensure that we have acquired and retired sufficient renewable energy for 100% of SuperGreen customers’ usage over the course of the year, including your company’s usage if you are a SuperGreen customer.
Will CleanPowerSF provide documentation of Renewable Energy Credit (REC) retirement?
Each year CleanPowerSF completes a Power Source Disclosure Report and Power Content Label for our Green and SuperGreen service, as required by state law and regulation. CleanPowerSF submits this information each year to the California Energy Commission, the state regulatory agency that is responsible for verifying retail seller power content claims. The Power Source Disclosure Report and Power Content Labels include power supply information for the Green and SuperGreen products for a calendar year, including the RECs retired within the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) for each product.
Does CleanPowerSF service count toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Power points through the U.S. Green Building Council?
Yes, your business may be eligible to receive LEED Green Power credits if you sign up for SuperGreen. Contact us for more details.
Is my business still eligible for PG&E’s energy efficiency rebates?
Yes, your eligibility for PG&E energy efficiency programs won’t change when you become a CleanPowerSF customer.
Can I use PG&E’s automated benchmarking service and Energy Star Portfolio Manager with CleanPowerSF?
Yes, you can use PG&E’s automated benchmarking service and Energy Star Portfolio Manager with CleanPowerSF. PG&E supplies third-party usage and charges through their benchmarking portal to Energy Star Portfolio Manager. To learn more, visit www.pge.com/benchmarking/.
How will CleanPowerSF enrollment affect our participation in PG&E’s Peak Day Pricing program?
Your accounts on PG&E’s optional Peak Day Pricing (PDP) will be automatically un-enrolled from PG&E's PDP upon enrollment in CleanPowerSF. Should a Peak Day Pricing program be of interest to you, CleanPowerSF is now offering qualifying E19 and E20 electric customers a CleanPowerSF Peak Day Pricing Pilot Program. Learn more on our Peak Day Pricing Pilot Program page.
Still have more questions?
No problem! Send your questions to CleanpowerSF@sfwater.org.