Installing Solar Electric Since 1983

 

The Case of Ms. D#2

Introduction: This is another case where PG&E lost a Net Electrical Metering (NEM) contract for one of our customers. Below I will provide a time-line of events on what happened to this woman, now a widow, and her PG&E account. I will be protecting Ms. D's identity by referring to her only by last initial.

Caveat: Please excuse typos, this page is a work in progress. The web authoring system we use has minimal spell and grammar check tools.

Last update: 2/27/17. Hit yor refresh button every time you visit as this content is changing frequently.

Background: This case matches at least 6 cases we experienced for solar customers that installed systems in the same time frame as Ms. D. At the time, PG&E coordinated NEM programs from local offices. In the early 2000s this coordination was transferred to a central location. It is suspected that in this transfer, many contracts were misplaced by PG&E. We have post office receipts proving contracts were received by PG&E that PG&E claims they never received. This case reflects in uncanny similarity to one we successfully pursued for another widow with the last initial of D. See this link for a case study of that scenario.

Our goal: To convince PG&E to allow Ms. D to reap the rewards of the investment that she and her late husband made towards a sustainable future. This may require the employees of PG&E push their supervisors to, on this occasion, throw the rule book out of the window. Not every situation in our lives adheres to rigid protocols set by corporations or governmental organizations. This scenario does not conform to the constraints applied by the on-line application system. PG&E needs to authorize someone with the power to make decisions to this case.

Time-line, from the beginning: In 1998 Mr. and Ms. D (number 2) installed a solar-electric system to provide backup power to their home in Nipomo, CA., and to allow them to reduce their monthly power bill. The project was completed by a licensed contractor and was permitted and inspected by the County of San Luis Obispo. We have results from the County of SLO permit database proving the latter points.

In the late to mid 2000's the original contractor drowned in a surfing accident. We do not have access to his files.

In 2013 PG&E installed an electronic meter. This meter replaced a mechanical meter. The mechanical meter, by virtue of it's construction, provided the D's with credit for the energy their system produced: During the day, the meter disc spun backwards, reducing the metered amount of electricity they were paying for. The electronic meter they received had a green "badge" indicating it was specific metering equipment for solar customers. However, the PG&E bookkeeping department, lacking the contract they had lost, instead of programming the account to apply credit for the energy sent back to the grid, charged MS. D for that energy. This resulted in Ms. D having a bill much higher than if she had no solar electric equipment-- and a bill not reflecting her actual energy usage. In essence, PG&E was robbing this widow due to incompetence.

In 2014, after battling dementia for a period of years, Mr. D passed away.

I met with Ms. D in November of 2016 and agreed to represent her case to PG&E on a pro-bono basis. Our company mission-statement directs us to provide community services within our area of expertise to worthwhile recipients. Ms. D signed a letter authorizing me to act on her behalf in regards to PG&E net metering issues. I immediately began preparing the necessary documents to portray this case to PG&E.

12/27/2016: I spoke with Sy of the PG&E Net Electric Metering department (NEM). Sy directed me to e-mail all pertinent information to NEMFollowups@pge.com. I did so on 1/9/2017. I e-mailed a complete packet with a cover letter and all pertinent documents.

1/9/2017: I received an automated e-mail reply indicating my e-mail had been received and would be responded to within two business days. I received no further reply.

1/17/2017: I sent another e-mail requesting review of this case.

1/19/17: Telephone conversation with Melissa. After explaining the story again, I was transferred to supervisor Teri. Teri was sympathetic, told me that this would be resolved promptly and assigned a case number. She gave me her e-mail address and asked me to e-mail her all documents. I did so. Teri promised to follow up again, but as of 2/27/2017 I have never heard from her again.

1/25/2017: I received an e-mail for Jeb at NEM saying there were no records on that account. Jeb asked for account number and meter number, even though that information had been included in the original e-mail packet. I replied the same day with the requested information.

2/2/2017: Telephone conversation with PG&E representative Tim. Asked to speak to a supervisor. On hold for quite a while. Was told I would have to wait for a supervisor to call me back. I asked for Jeb's phone number. Was told Jeb does not have a phone. Never received any call back from a supervisor.

2/2/2017: I received an e-mail again from Jeb saying there was no record of any application (even though I sent one twice) and directed me to fill out an application on line. I replied that there were problems with applying on-line in that I had to agree to accept NEM2 rates that are now in effect. I cannot agree to this, so I cannot proceed with the online application process.

2/3/2017: Telephone conversation with supervisor, Tanis (I initiated call). Tanis convinced me to file on-line, telling me that the contract would not be restricted to NEM2 rates.

2/3/2017: Tried to fill out application on line (even though this is a duplicate of all information previously submitted many times). In submitting a form, the online system indicated the meter number is not correct, even though I have a photograph of the meter, and the system had accepted that meter number previously that session. Also, when I tried to upload form number 79-1151A-02, the system informed me that I was uploading the wrong form and I needed to upload form number 79-1151A-02-- the exact form I was trying to upload.

On 2/16/17 I received an e-mail from NEM, this time from Ryan, indicating that they had received my on-line application but that additional information needed to be uploaded.

2/16/2017: Called and could not reach a human. I left message requesting supervisor to call.

2/17/2017: Received a telephone call from PG&E employee Elijah. I was told she is in a department not related to my request. I have no idea why she was assigned to call me. She could not help me in any way. She tried to transfer my call to NEM but was unsuccessful.

2/27/2017: Called NEM and spoke to Gabby. Was told there would be a 2-3 day wait for supervisor call back. I told her I would hold all-day if necessary to speak to a supervisor. I was connected within a few minutes to Eva, a supervisor. Eva suggested I try the on-line portal again, which I agreed to if she would stay on the line in case further problems were encountered. I was able to successfully upload the form 79-1151A-02 along with other documents. The system does not recognize the equipment installed, not surprisingly, because the equipment is no longer manufactured. The system required I agree to NEM2 rates which I told Eva I could not agree to. Eva convinced me that there was no way this could progress without clicking to agree, but that the decision would be reviewed. I reluctantly agreed to the NEM2 rates. I was stopped at the point the system requested a payment be made. On principle I cannot make a payment to PG&E because the situation is due to their mistake. Eva promised to make my case to her supervisors, that case being that someone should take this application out of the system to avoid the constraints that do not apply to this case. Eva promised to review the case in a day or two and contact me if there were any further questions.

2/27/17: received a call from Lynn F. at PG&E. Lynn is trying to gain information to escalate the case to reach resolution. Lynn asking if there are any more relevant documents. I told her we do not yet have he permission to operate letter, but we do have proof that the project was permitted and inspected. Our conversation reviewed all contacts between PG&E and the D's. PG&E has known since 2008 that a solar electric system existed at this address. Lynn has seen one case like this in her time at PG&E. Lynn provided her contact number so I now have someone to call at PG&E.

2/27/17: I spoke with an administrator from a State Representatives office. She agreed to review the material and contact PG&E if it seemed appropriate. We are waiting for that review.

Equipment for Ms. D2's System

Stay tuned for further developments. We will not give up until we see justice served in this case.