Any alternative to PG&E in California? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-30-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The technician arrived to day to install a "SmartMeter" for our PG & E. I told him I didn't want one, so he left but assured me that PG&E would be right back to install one (which I knew - I just wanted to register my opposition). Anyway, realistically, is there an alternative to PG&E for our home? We are just outside the city limits. Our heating bill is horrendous, but we really don't have extra money to install anything more efficient that I know of. Any suggetions? We have our own well and septic but otherwise are dependent of the "grid." I'm serious about options and have an open mind. Thanks!
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#2 of 10 Old 07-03-2010, 03:24 AM
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You could be minimal by not using anything. Candles, solar oven, solar dehydrator, wood stove when appropriate. I don't know of any other power companies per se but we're central coast, not northern Cal. You could pretend to be off-grid and just not plug in, set the money you would have spent on electricity into a box or account for a solar panel and batteries eventually. There are lots of options, it takes the desire to do it and a battle of the wills

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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#3 of 10 Old 07-09-2010, 10:47 AM
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If you have deep enough pockets, you can go alternative, which forms would depend on what is best for your particular lot and location. Solar, wind, hydro ect.
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#4 of 10 Old 07-16-2010, 06:15 PM
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Solar and other alternatives aren't often cheaper, but if you saved up for it they might be an option and get your home self reliant. Reducing the power usage might be easy depending how much you do already. Plastic sheeting on windows is cheap, or heavy curtains or blankets, putting draft stops on the floor by doors. Adding insulation, weatherstripping, etc can help a lot and cost relatively little. Turning the thermostat cooler in winter warmer will of course lower your bill, made comfy with blankets, socks, slippers, sweaters, hats, and hot food and drinks.
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#5 of 10 Old 07-24-2010, 03:58 PM
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I'm just curious what a "smart meter" is

Single mom to 2 boys
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#6 of 10 Old 07-25-2010, 03:36 PM
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A Smart Meter is a new meter that monitors how much power you are using and what times of day you are using it, eventually they will do away with manual meter reading and send your usage info directly to the supplier. There are On Peak hours, which are during the daytime, any power usage at those times is charged at the highest rate. Mid peak hours are evenings and mornings, and then the middle of the night and weekends is Off peak hours and is the cheapest, at about half the cost of daytime power usage. At least that is the way it works in Ontario. So we are trying to do all laundry, dishwasher, etc in the night and on weekends so it is cheaper. I am anxious to see how it will affect our bills, we have a wood and oil furnace and are on well water but it is controlled by an electric pump. It is the law here now in Ontario, all homes and small businesses will have a Smart Meter installed by the end of 2010 and they will all be activated within a few weeks in some places, IIRC. It all comes down to conserving energy. Here is what the cost is for us:

Summer (May 1st - Oct 31st)
Day of Week Time Period TOU Price (¢/kWh)
7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Mid-peak 7.2
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On-peak 8.8
5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mid-peak 7.2
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Off-peak 4.0
Weekends Sat. - 7 am - Mon. - 7 am Off-peak 4.0

Winter (Nov 1st - Apr 30th)
Day of Week Time Period TOU Price (¢/kWh)
Weekdays 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. On-peak 8.8
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mid-peak 7.2
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On-peak 8.8
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mid-peak 7.2
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Off-peak 4.0
Weekends Sat. - 7 am - Mon. - 7 am Off-peak 4.0

Jewels & Jon (Married 11+ yrs)- Homeschooling, No Circ, BF, CD Mama to:
Alex 8 Gabby 6 (Homeborn!) Gideon 2.... chickens, ducks, cats and a dog
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#7 of 10 Old 07-28-2010, 08:26 PM
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Oh wow....that is so "big brother" it is creepy. I doubt we will have those here for many years, i still have the meter with the dial numbers for usage not even digital!!

Single mom to 2 boys
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#8 of 10 Old 10-16-2012, 10:11 PM
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I had the same problem and recently I introduced to a very nice and profitable way to reduce my PG&E bill and potentially getting it for free.


Ambit Energy is netural Gas company that kicked in this month as part of PGE deregulation, they doing it successfully in 8 other states.

You have the possibility to sign up as a customer (you don't need to pay anything) and reduce your payments to PG&E (the billing will continue through PG&E, nothings change).


If you're PGE bill is realy a pain for you, I suggest you to see those 2 links: 

Ambit Energy




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#9 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 10:54 PM
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In some parts of California you can lease solar panels for about the some cost as your monthly PG and E bill, or maybe just slightly higher. Buying a solar panel syste, outrght isn't affordable for most people though, so leasing is an option, and there are some government credits that figure in there, too. In a few (or maybe 10? I don't know) years you own the panels, and then you can actually make money--PGE sucks your extra power into their grid somehow and you get a check from them instead of the other way around, yay! is one of the places to look, and I think there are a couple others operating as well...Someday I want to do this, but none of the companies have gotten up to my (extra rural) area yet...


Gosh that post right above looks spammy, only one post by that user, hmmm...

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#10 of 10 Old 12-05-2012, 04:13 PM
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I second the Sungevity Solar program. They are awesome and once you put solar panels on there is no smart meter.....

Talia Rose - mountain mama to Grace and Xack::  h20homebirth.gif :homeschool.gif  goorganic.jpgwhale.gifchicken3.gif

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