Woman reading phone screen

SJCE Launches New Texting Feature

SJCE customers can now sign up to receive monthly texts from SJCE with tips on how to save money and energy.

To make it more convenient for our customers to access important resources and information, SJCE will send SMS texts with updates on new programs and tips to save money. For example, when the state calls for a Flex Alert on a hot summer day, SJCE will text you tips on how to conserve energy to support a more reliable grid and save you money on your bill. Or, we will issue reminders about important dates like the upcoming end to COVID-related customer protections on September 30, 2021.

Texts are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Simplified Chinese. Standard SMS fees apply, and customers can unsubscribe at any time.

Customers can text SAVINGS to 833-415-2329 to sign up; Text AHORROS for texts in Spanish; Text TIẾT KIỆM for texts in Vietnamese; Text 储蓄 for texts in Simplified Chinese.

TOU: Save Energy – and Money –
from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The recent time-of-use (TOU) transition means that most residential customers are now on a TOU rate plan and have more control over their electric bills. Under TOU rates, electricity prices vary according to the time of day. If you received a notice about the TOU transition and did not decline the transition, you are likely on the E-TOU-C rate plan with lower rates 19 hours a day and peak pricing from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Most customers are expected to save on this plan without changing their habits. However, by taking some of the following actions, you could save more and support a cleaner, more reliable grid.

Tips to conserve energy from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.:

  • Turn off all but essential lighting
  • Pre-cool your home in the morning to reduce need for air conditioning during peak hours
  • Set the thermostat for your air conditioner at a higher temperature
  • Run large appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, and oven during off-peak hours. Use the delay start function or a timer to help!
  • Charge electronics overnight, including your EV
  • Sign up to receive monthly texts with energy-saving tips and reminders from SJCE by texting “CLEAN” to 833-415-2329

Most California residential electricity customers are being transitioned to TOU rates as part of a statewide initiative to ensure greater grid reliability, fight climate change, and support a cleaner and healthier energy future. California generates plenty of solar energy during the day and wind energy is typically more abundant overnight. But between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the sun sets just as residential electricity demand increases. By adopting TOU rate plans, customers are incentivized to use energy during the cheaper and cleaner 19 hours of the day and decrease energy use during peak hours. In turn, this will reduce the need for fossil fuel energy sources and lead to a cleaner, more reliable grid. Learn more about TOU and why it matters.

San José Clean Energy Service is Getting Cleaner!

San José Clean Energy (SJCE) has provided San José homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy options at competitive rates since its launch in February 2019. On May 11, City Council approved several updates to our service and rates, including making our default service cleaner, establishing a new low-cost service, and introducing a new program for low-income customers.

Renewable content of GreenSource increased by 15%

Our default service, GreenSource, now consists of 55% renewable energy, cutting San José’s greenhouse gas emissions by 140,000 metrics tons in 2021 – the same as taking 30,000 cars off the road. This is well ahead of the State’s renewable portfolio standard of 36% for 2021 as well as PG&E’s default service, which PG&E preliminarily reported as 36% renewable in 2020. However, we also had to make the difficult decision to increase GreenSource charges by about $3-4 more per month for the average home (or 8.25%). Since generation makes up less than half of your total electricity bill, these changes would only result in a 3% total bill increase.

These changes help alleviate ongoing increases in PG&E’s above-market energy costs, which are recovered through a fee paid by all electricity customers called the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, or PCIA. PG&E’s PCIA has risen over 900% since 2013. The average residential customer in San José will pay $20 per month in PCIA fees in 2021, up from $10 per month in 2018. We are advocating for improved management of PG&E’s above-market costs with the California Public Utilities Commission and State Legislature to give customers more savings. To learn more about the PCIA, read our fact sheet or visit cal-cca.org/pcia.

GreenValue is our new lowest cost service

Recognizing that the pandemic has caused economic hardship for some and further exacerbated affordability, we decided to introduce a new service option called GreenValue that is open to all customers. GreenValue is 36% renewable, and costs the same as PG&E.

If you wish to make changes to your account, you can go online, call us at 833-432-2454, or email us at customerservice@sanjosecleanenergy.org.

 

*Based on average residential usage of 482 kWh per month on E-1 (tiered) residential rate.

 

SJ Cares Program for low-income customers

In addition, we created a new program to provide higher renewable content for our lowest income customers. SJ Cares provides customers enrolled in CARE or FERA financial assistance programs higher renewable energy (55% of GreenSource) for our lowest possible rates (GreenValue). All CARE and FERA customers are automatically enrolled in SJ Cares, with no action required. Enrolling in GreenValue will not save CARE or FERA customers any additional money; they already receive higher renewable energy for our lowest rates.

Upgrade to TotalGreen for 100% renewable energy

Customers still have the option to enroll in our 100% renewable service, TotalGreen. If it makes sense for your home, we encourage you to upgrade to TotalGreen for just $4 more per month than GreenSource. You’ll cut your carbon footprint, protect our planet for future generations, and help us add new renewable resources to the grid. To date, we’ve invested in nearly 500 megawatts of new solar, wind, and battery storage – enough clean energy to power nearly 300,000 San José homes!

Time-of-Use Electricity Rates Explained + Upcoming Webinars

As part of a statewide initiative, all California electric customers are being moved to a Time-of-Use (TOU) rate plan where electricity costs more during certain hours of the day. San José Clean Energy (SJCE) residential customers will be automatically transitioned to TOU rates in June 2021 with no action required from the customer.

Customers can try TOU rates risk-free for one year with automatic bill protection. Customers can also decline the transition and keep their current rate plan or choose another rate plan at any time. Most customers are expected to see savings with TOU rates without changing their usage. Moving to TOU rate plans helps ensure greater grid reliability, fight climate change, and support a cleaner and healthier energy future.

 

 

WHAT IS TIME-OF-USE (TOU)?

Most customers are currently on tiered rate plans where energy costs more as more is used. Instead, under TOU rates, energy costs more from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day but is cheaper at all other times of the day.

  • Rates will be lower during “off-peak” hours when overall energy demand is lower and more renewable energy is available (before 4:00 p.m. and after 9:00 p.m.).
  • Electricity prices will be higher between 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., when the sun sets and less renewable energy is available to meet the “peak” in evening energy demand.

Info graphic showing higher prices during "peak" period and lower prices during "off-peak" period.

 

CUSTOMERS ARE EXPECTED TO SAVE MONEY

Most SJCE customers are expected to save money on TOU rates without changing any habits. However, shifting energy use to off-peak hours could help customers see even more savings on their bill. Easy ways to shift energy use include:

  • Turning off all but essential lighting.
  • Pre-cooling your home outside of peak hours.
  • Using timers to run appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and ovens during off-peak hours.
  • Charging electronics through the night.

To view a personalized rate comparison and the lowest cost option, visit www.pge.com/TOUchoice or call PG&E at 1-866-743-7945.

 

TRY IT RISK-FREE WITH BILL PROTECTION

Customers can try the TOU rate plan with automatic bill protection for the first 12 months. If the first year of service ends up being more expensive than a customer’s previous rate plan, SJCE and PG&E will credit the difference at the end of the 12-month period.

 

SIGN UP FOR AN UPCOMING WEBINAR

Customers can register for an upcoming webinar to learn more about TOU rates, help decide which rate plan is best for their lifestyle, and ask questions.

We are offering interpretation services in Spanish and Vietnamese upon request. Please email CEDWebinar@sanjoseca.gov with the requested language.

 

Visit www.sanjosecleanenergy.org/tou for more information.

Photo of son helping father with bills

Payment Assistance Programs to Help Manage Your Bill

We know many of our customers have lost jobs or hours due to COVID-19 and may be accruing debt as they struggle to keep up with bills. To help, we’ve outlined a list of monthly and one-time bill assistance programs that SJCE customers may be eligible for.

 

New Debt Forgiveness Program

Arrearage Management Plan (AMP)

Last year in response to the pandemic, the state issued a moratorium on power disconnections through April 16, 2021. On February 11, the California Public Utilities Commission will vote whether to extend the moratorium through June 30, 2021. Knowing that many Californians are accruing debt, the state recently approved a new program called the Arrearage Management Plan (AMP) to help qualifying residential customers reduce or eliminate debt owed on their electricity bills up to $8,000. The AMP program is administered by PG&E and available to SJCE customers who meet eligibility requirements.

Learn more about AMP and the eligibility requirements on our Discount Programs webpage.

 

Monthly Discount Programs

California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA)

The California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA) are two State-funded programs that offer 18-35% off electricity bills for income-qualified households. SJCE customers are eligible for these discount programs and must apply and reapply through PG&E, who administers CARE and FERA for Santa Clara County.

Learn more about these discounts and how to apply on our Discount Programs webpage.

 

One-Time Assistance Programs

Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program administered by Sacred Heart Community Service in Santa Clara County. LIHEAP offers income-eligible households (renters and homeowners) a one-time credit to their utility bill, ranging from $269 to $413 per calendar year.

 

Relief for Energy Assistance Through Community Help (REACH)

The Relief for Energy Assistance Through Community Help (REACH) is a donation-based program administered by the nonprofit Dollar Energy Fund and gives income-qualified customers financial assistance during times of hardship. REACH provides a one-time energy credit each year for up to $300 based on a past due bill (energy credit support is subject to funding availability).

Learn more about these assistance programs and how to apply on our Discount Programs webpage.

San José Clean Energy Seeking Technical Consulting Services

The Community Energy Department, which operates San José Clean Energy (SJCE), is seeking proposals from qualified consultants to provide technical consulting services for SJCE. SJCE aims to work with industry-leading experts to optimize our power procurement services and provide competitive products and services to our customers.

Successful consultants will assist with priority areas that include load forecasting and portfolio management systems; energy risk management and analysis; electricity rates and cost of service studies; and California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and market operation support.

The request for proposals (RFP) can be found here.

Proposal responses must be submitted by February 1, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. PT through Biddingo.

EV Charging Stations

Applications for $14M in EV charging station incentives open in San José

Starting today, businesses, commercial property owners, and multifamily residences in San José can apply for significant rebates on eligible Level 2 and DC Fast charging equipment and installation costs through the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP). CALeVIP is a partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC) to offer $14 million in incentive funding to increase the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in our city. Applications can now be submitted on the CALeVIP website.

The project will fund approximately 1,400 Level 2 connectors and 100 DC Fast chargers in San José, essentially doubling the current public charging infrastructure in our city. At least 25% of incentive funds will be distributed to installations in low-income and disadvantaged communities to further improve access to this infrastructure and move the needle on EV adoption. CALeVIP’s program administrator, Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), will also provide technical assistance to ALL San José multifamily residences, as well as workplace, public, and commercial properties located in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Project funding is expected to be in high demand, so applicants are encouraged to apply quickly. To learn more about the application process, visit the Peninsula-Silicon Valley Incentive Project page.

For more information about this exciting project, read our press release.

San José Clean Energy adds wind to its renewable energy portfolio

We are happy to announce that we recently signed a long-term agreement for 225 megawatts (MW) of wind energy with developer Pattern Energy. The project will be built in New Mexico by the end of 2021 and will produce enough renewable electricity to power nearly 186,000 San José homes.

This is our fourth long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) since our launch in February 2019. This 15-year PPA for wind diversifies our portfolio and augments our previous investments in new solar and battery storage. Wind energy has a complementary generation profile to solar and typically delivers power around the clock. Due to the project’s location in New Mexico, its energy deliveries will generally increase earlier each day than local wind projects, helping meet customer demand during the crucial early evening hours when demand is high but renewable energy supply is typically low.

To learn more about our wind investment, please read our press release.

Learn how SJCE’s innovative project is contributing to grid reliability

This year, the United States has witnessed the increasing impacts of climate change with stronger storms and record flooding. In California alone, we’ve had higher than average temperatures, leading to potential power outages, and wildfires that have caused devastation throughout the state. As a Community Choice Energy provider, our goal is to fight back against the impacts of climate change by providing cleaner energy at competitive rates and finding solutions to improve grid reliability.

In the spring of 2020 we partnered with developer Terra-Gen on an innovative power purchase agreement that will improve grid reliability and reduce the need for rolling outages. This innovative 12-year agreement will provide 62 MW of renewable energy by the end of 2021. The unique format of this agreement guarantees the delivery of 62 MW of renewable energy between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. every day. That is sixteen hours of clean reliable energy seven days a week. This will help meet demand in the late afternoon and evening hours when electricity use is high but renewable energy availability is typically low. Providing renewable energy during these hours reduces reliance on natural gas, this in turn improves air quality and reduces asthma and other respiratory symptoms or illnesses.

To meet this obligation, Terra-Gen will build more than 100 MW of new solar energy and new battery storage right here in California with union labor. We are investing in renewable energy for a healthier, livable planet for our future generations. Projects like this help us meet our climate and reliability goals to deliver clean energy while reducing electricity costs for our customers.

For information about this exciting project, read our press release. 

Synaptics headquarters to be powered by 100% renewable energy through TotalGreen

San José Clean Energy is excited to welcome Synaptics as our newest TotalGreen corporate partner. Synaptics recently announced their decision to power their San José headquarters with 100% renewable energy through SJCE’s TotalGreen service.

The partnership with SJCE is part of Synaptics’ greater sustainability goals. The company is committed to increasing use of renewable energy to 50% across its global facilities by 2022. In addition, Synaptics recently upgraded their HVAC systems, increased temperature in their datacenters, and converted to LED lighting to reduce building energy consumption.

SJCE is thrilled to see demand for renewable energy from our large corporate customers, despite the economic impacts of COVID-19. Late last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and eBay also announced their decision to upgrade service to TotalGreen. Partnerships between local government and the private sector are critical in the development of new renewable energy resources. These partnerships are one of our most important tools in fighting climate change and creating a livable planet for future generations.

SJCE’s TotalGreen electric service sources renewable, emission-free energy from solar generation. TotalGreen is a simple, cost-effective way for companies to reduce their impact on the planet. Residential customers can also upgrade their SJCE electric service to TotalGreen. Choosing TotalGreen costs the average home about $4 more per month, about the same as a cup of coffee. Visit our website to learn more.