Many Californians are rushing to install solar before long-term savings drop significantly under California's new solar policy, net metering (NEM) 3. With net metering, your utility company compensates you for the excess electricity your solar panel system generates and sends to the grid; NEM 3 lowers the compensation rate in California by about 75% compared to current NEM 2 rates. So, if you live in California and are thinking about going solar soon, you'll maximize your solar savings by submitting your interconnection application before April 14, 2023, at 5 PM PST (when NEM 3 goes into effect) to lock in 20 years of higher NEM 2 rates.
To become grandfathered into NEM 2, the very first thing you should do is find your past utility bill information: your installer will need this to accurately size your system, so you'll expedite the process of going solar by having it on hand when you get quotes. In this article, we'll explain how to easily view your past utility bills, whether you're a PG&E, SDG&E, or SCE customer – and what to do if you're building a new home and don't have any utility bills yet. (Don't see your utility listed here? That means you won't be impacted by NEM 3.)
Finding your old utility bills can sometimes be confusing, so we've outlined the steps you'll need to take to do so quickly and easily:
If you don't have an online account yet, you can set one up by providing your PG&E account number and your phone number or the last four digits of your social security number. According to PG&E, once your account is set up, you can view your past bills by completing the following five steps:
Under the "Your Account" header, choose "Bill & Payment History."
Scroll down until you find the bill date or payment you want.
Select "View Bill PDF" to automatically download the bill.
Print the downloaded PDF if needed.
To sign up for an online account with SDG&E, you'll need to provide your account's email address, phone number, or the last four digits of your social security number. According to SDG&E, once you've set up your account, you can view up to 25 months of your bill history by completing the following steps:
Click the "Billing & Payment History" option from the "Billing" navigation tab.
Select the down arrow at the end of the row for the statement date you'd like to access.
From the expanded view, click "View Your Detailed Bill PDF."
Download and print the PDF if needed.
You can also view up to 13 months of your usage history through your SDG&E account, which can help installers size your system appropriately. After signing in, you'll need to:
Click the "Usage" navigation tab.
Use the "Meter" selector on the right to switch between electric and gas meters.
Click the "Usage" button on the graph to view your usage by day, hour, etc.
To view your past SCE bills, you'll first need to create an online account by providing your current email address, SCE account number, and zip code and then verifying your email. According to SCE, once your online account is all set, you can view and download your past bills by following these steps:
Click on "Billing & Payment."
Click on "Bill & Payment History."
Select the down arrow at the end of the row for the year you want to access.
From the expanded view, click "View Bill."
Download and print the PDF if needed.
Under the California solar mandate, most newly constructed single-family homes and multi-family homes up to three stories high require a solar panel system – so, if you're in the process of building a new home, you're probably wondering how you can lock in NEM 2 rates without any past utility bills! Fortunately, you can still submit your solar application before the April 14th deadline if you're in this situation, but your exact process will depend on your utility company. According to the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA), these are the steps you need to take:
The construction company building your home must apply for utility service with PG&E and include your interconnection application. So, you or your installer will have to determine who at the company submitted your service application and request that they link your installer to it – you can use this lookup tool to determine who submitted your service application or email Rule21gen@pge.com.
You'll need to use the service account number on the solar application submitted by your construction company – if you can't find this information, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All you need is your street address – you won't need an account number if you live in a SCE territory.
Will NEM 3 impact you if you already have solar?
No! If you already have solar, you will remain grandfathered onto your existing net metering plan until the end of that term.
Will NEM 3 impact you if you have a municipal utility company?
No – the NEM 3 rates will only impact those customers of California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs), which include PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE. However, if you participate in a community choice aggregation program (like CPA, SVCE, or MCE) and one of the IOUs still serves your power, they will be responsible for administering the NEM program, meaning you will be impacted by NEM 3.
What other steps must you take to lock in NEM 2 rates?
You'll need to get quotes, sign a contract with an installer, schedule your site visit, and submit your interconnection application by April 14, 2023, to be grandfathered into NEM 2 rates for 20 years. See our recommended timeline in our complete guide to locking in solar savings under NEM 2.
What happens if you don't submit your application before April 14?
If you don't submit your interconnection application by the deadline, you'll be put on NEM 3, which means you'll miss out on about 60% of 20-year savings with a solar-only system. Your payback period and long-term savings will be better if you install a battery with your solar panel system under NEM 3.
Once you have your past utility bills, you're ready to receive quotes from solar installers! On the EnergySage Marketplace, you'll receive up to seven quotes from local, vetted installers so you can go solar with confidence – and by uploading your electricity bill when you register, you'll receive better quotes faster! Through EnergySage, you'll also have access to your own (free!) Energy Advisor, who can answer questions you may have about the solar process, NEM 3, or your utility account.