Here’s what time-of-use rates mean for your business

Instead of a single flat rate for energy use, time-of-use rates are higher when electric demand is higher. This means when you use energy is just as important as how much you use.

Winter has two rate periods: off-peak and partial-peak. Summer has three: off-peak, partial-peak and peak. During peak periods, defined as weekdays from noon to 6 p.m., May through October, your business’ electric rates will be higher. In return, time-of-use rates at all other times will be lower than the peak rate.

All business customers will transition to time-of-use rates as required by the California Public Utilities Commission.

To learn more about peak periods and how time-of-use works, see the Time-of-Use Frequently Asked Questions section.

Time-of-Use Frequently Asked Questions

Why are businesses switching to time-of-use rates?

To ensure greater power reliability and a better energy future, the California Public Utilities Commission has set forth a plan to make time-of-use rates the commercial standard for all of the state’s major electric utilities. PG&E is transitioning commercial and agriculture customers to time-of-use rates in accordance with this plan.

What is changing in my bill?

Previously, businesses were billed according to flat electric rates, which means they were charged the same amount for electricity no matter when it was used. When you transition to a time-of-use rate, the cost of electricity will vary based on the time of day and season in which it is used.

What is a peak period?

Peak periods occur from noon to 6 p.m., May through October, when time-of-use rates are higher.

Where can I compare rates and can I switch to a different rate?

You can change to any other time-of-use rate up to once a year. If you have not yet transitioned, you can also elect to switch to a time-of-use rate now. To compare available rate options and view your daily usage, visit

Why does my time-of-use rate vary?

Time-of-use rates better align the price of energy with the cost of energy at the time it is produced. Lower rates during partial-peak and off-peak hours offer an incentive for customers to shift energy use away from more expensive peak hours, which can help you save money and reduce strain on the electric grid.

What is the difference between summer and winter time-of-use rates?

There are three rate periods during the summer: off-peak, partial-peak and peak, and winter has two rate periods: off-peak and partial-peak. Peak period rates are highest on weekdays, from noon to 6 p.m., May through October. At all other hours, rates will be lower.

Who do I contact if I have a question about my bill?

Call our Business Customer Service Center at 1-800-468-4743 to speak to a PG&E Representative about bill inquiries. Our staff can help you navigate your new bill or connect you with a Customer Relationship Manager who can walk you through an energy survey over the phone. They can see if your business might qualify for potential rebates and other savings programs. Plus, you can also schedule a free, comprehensive facility assessment.

How can I save money on this new rate?

Before, on a flat electric rate, the only way to reduce your bills was to simply use less electricity. On a time-of-use rate, you can lower your bill by shifting when you use energy to partial-peak and off-peak hours. Rates during partial-peak and off-peak hours of the day are lower than the rates during the peak hours of 12 - 6 p.m. on weekdays. This puts you in the driver’s seat so you can have more control over your bills. PG&E can help you identify ways to shift energy use away from peak hours and conserve energy in your business with rebates for making energy efficiency upgrades.

Did all California businesses switch to these new rates?

Time-of-use rates are already in effect for PG&E’s Large Commercial, Industrial and Large Agriculture customers. Many of PG&E’s Small and Medium Business customers transitioned to time-of-use rates in November 2012 and many Small and Medium Agriculture customers will undergo the transition to time-of-use rates in March 2013.

How do I know if my business is on a time-of-use rate?

Beginning in November 2012, small and medium businesses began transitioning to time-of-use. More businesses will transition over the next few years. To find out if your business is on a time-of-use rate, log in to My Energy or speak to a PG&E representative at 1-800-468-4743.

Am I getting charged a different rate than a neighboring business?

The rate you are on is based on the amount of energy your business uses every month. A neighboring business may be on a rate that is better suited for their needs, so yes, they may be on a different rate than you.

Frequently asked questions about Demand Charges

Some time-of-use rates include Demand Charges. If your time-of-use electric bill shows a monthly Demand Charge, you can find out more here.

What is the Demand Detail charge on my bill?

Some time-of-use rates, like A10 time-of-use, include a Demand Charge. This Demand Charge is a charge based on the maximum load (expressed in kilowatts, or kW) placed on PG&E’s system by your equipment at any interval during the billing period. Your monthly Demand Charge will vary depending on the equipment you use from month to month. One way to manage your monthly Demand Charge is to stagger times at which you switch equipment on, rather than doing it all at once; this helps minimize spikes in demand.

Why does my Demand Detail charge vary from month to month?

The Demand Detail reflects the maximum amount of load you needed over the course of a billing period, and can vary depending on the equipment you use from month to month. For example, charging an electric vehicle at the same time as running a pool pump will create a much higher demand than if the two were run at separate times. Depending on your business type, it may be possible to lower your Demand Detail charge.


Transition Schedule

  • Beginning in November 2012 and continuing over the next several years, Small and Medium Business Customers will transition to time-of-use rates.

  • Beginning in March 2013 and continuing over the next several years, Small and Medium Agriculture Customers will transition to time-of-use rates.

See What Transition Means

Need Help?

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    For questions about time-of-use rates and their effect on your bill, contact us. 

    Business Customers, call:

    24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    Business Specialists are available Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. (PT) and Saturday 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (PT) 

    Agricultural Customers, call:

    Agriculture Specialists are available Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (PT) 

    Or email us at

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