Pioneer Energy – Forced Upon El Dorado Residents
Pioneer energy has come to El Dorado County in Northern California and is forced on residents due to a mostly unknown California law. This is a energy company that purchases energy from Pacific Gas and Electric and then resells it to customers.
This change is basically forced unless you are smart enough to opt-out. Learning from the crisis in Texas a few years ago it is not a good idea to buy energy from a company that purchases it from a company who is already responsible for generating power and maintaining the lines like Pacific Gas and Electric is.
Being wooed by telling customers that the rates are lower logic at some point has to play out. Think about it. Pioneer energy uses PG&E power to send to its customers through the PG&E generation system. So they write PG&E a check and use them to deliver power to you. In order to do that there is systems and payroll for Pioneer employees right? So how do these people get paid? Well it is through a shell game that con’s people into thinking they are saving money.
Lets talk about NEM customers for a moment A NEM customer is a solar customer. The way net metering works with PG&E is that they bill you once a year. The months you undergenerate – they don’t charge you right away for the power used – instead they wait for the months that you over generate and at the end of the year cycle they settle out the bill. This is known as settle out. Each month you can monitor your bill – whether you owe or not and then decide as you go through the year to make small payments to make your settle out small. The advantage of this plan is that you get full credit for the overgeneration back to your bill.
With Pioneer energy they settle your bill once a month. They tout that as an advantage. So when you over generate – they give you pennies for the KW you send back- but if you over use the next month you pay full boat for the energy. This is a whopping advantage to Pioneer as they will make lots of money off of solar customers. In the summer months the solar customers won’t see a bill but in the winter they will pay for every dime of energy used. There is no annual settle out. This is one way that Pioneer banks bucks. The other game is if you are a NEM customer they won’t switch you over until 60 days before your settle out. If you are not paying attention you can be jammed on a Pioneer account and start to be overcharged before you realize it. The notification email will most likely end up in your Junk email box. There is no letter sent to your home notifying you of the switch. How nice for them.
As a Pacific Gas and Electric customer it makes no sense to purchase power from a third party that purchases power from the company I purchase from directly. Common business 101 tells you that there is additional payroll and management expenses that must be paid for above and beyond what PG&E charges.
I have never liked energy costs in California – they are a rip-off but I don’t like the fact that a company can come in and take over an entire county without an ounce of publications or notifications. Now maybe I may be wrong but I have never received one piece of communication from Pioneer Energy. The only reason I found out about it is stumbling across an article in the Mountain Democrat.
It will be interesting to see what the customers say that have been already switched. The social media channels are full of pissed off customers now – those that were regular customers that were converted in January of this year. Those that are NEM customers will find out when they receive a bill from Pioneer after they settle out with PG&E.
Pioneer Energy has an opt out page. It also has sample rates from Placer County. You make your own decision but to me it is another scheme to get extra cash out of unwitting customers. Good Luck.
Please note: This is my opinion and my blog only. I could have received incorrect information about what I have learned and it is possible that I am somehow incorrect in my understanding. Research the issue yourself.