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First Chevy Volt Electricity Bill (PG&E)


update 07/28/2012:

If you are unfamiliar with KwH’s and time of use rates etc and want to understand the basics of how to calculate How much it costs to charge a Chevy Volt – check out that linked article before reading about time of use rates below.

Original Post

Today, I received my first Chevy Volt Electricity Bill under the PG&E Time of Use rates for electric vehicles today (specifically the E-9A). Below are the specific Details

01/01/2011 – 01/30/2011

Electric Charges $20.18
Total Usage 302.723250 Kwh

Winter Partial Peak Usage
Baseline Usage 135.216500 Kwh @ $0.11123

Winter Off-Peak Usage
Baseline Usage 167.506750 Kwh @ $0.06186
Baseline Credit 302.723250 Kwh @ -$0.01729

Net Charges $20.18

Off Peak Usage currently for winter is between midnight and 7am. If you reference my previous analysis of cost savings for time of use rates on electric vehicles, you would know that I normally use about 1.2 kw*hr off peak per day or roughly 36 Kw*H per month.

That means that about 120 Kw*H of electricity was strictly used for charging the Volt.  Compared to “normal” rates I save about 6 cents per kilowatt hour which amounts to a savings of $7.20 this month by using the electricity off peak vs. on peak.

This month, I drove less than I would have normally, (about 60% of the travel I would have normally done) for various reasons, so I expect the electricity usage off peak to increase from 120 Kw*h to 200+ in subsequent months.

I currently have 900 miles on the Volt, so the savings ot a person who uses more of the electric range in a day would add up much faster.  Consider that the Volt gets an efficiency of between 2.5-4 Miles per Kw*h.  There also being some additional usage not strictly to recharge the battery, lets say for this purpose that you can get 3 miles per Kilowatt.  A person driving say 30 miles electric per day every day would drive about 900 miles electric per month would use about 300 Kw*h of electricity per month.

In my case they would save $18 / month on electricity compared to normal rates.

So in the winter, this cost savings may not be a big deal, but consider in the summer that on peak rates could be anywhere between 25 cent / kilowatt – 40cents / kilowatt and the savings really start to add up.

$18 / mo *12 months is $216 per year of savings though nonetheless.  And as electric car buyers are paying a premium right now, we’ll take everything we can get in terms of savings and perks.

20 Responses to “First Chevy Volt Electricity Bill (PG&E)”

  1. Jeff N says:

    Driving the Volt and switching to E-9A saved you around $1 on your electricity bill versus not charging the Volt and keeping your old E-1 rate. Nice.

    Estimated Non-Volt E-1 Rate Electric Charges
    Total Usage 171.216500 Kwh

    Winter Partial Peak Usage
    Baseline Usage 135.216500 Kwh @ $0.12233

    Winter Off-Peak Usage
    Baseline Usage 36.000000 Kwh @ $0.12233

    Net Charges $20.94
    From E9 Bill $20.18
    Savings $00.76

  2. PatrickZWang says:

    Yup – the way rates are structured for winter they are just lower off peak (no offsetting increase on peak). Obviously during summer that changes. Hopefully that will last a while :)

  3. Jeff N says:

    “This month, I drove less than I would have normally, (about 60% of the travel I would have normally done) for various reasons, so I expect the electricity usage off peak to increase from 120 Kw*h to 200+ in subsequent months.”

    Extrapolating further, essentially all of the extra 80 kWh will fall under baseline usage so it will be billed at an effective rate of $.04457 per kWh (with the baseline credit subtracted from the off-peak rate). That works out to an extra $3.57 on your bill but you were saving $.76 off the previous status quo so now you would effectively be paying $2.81 for the 200 kWh used to charge the Volt. That works out to $0.014 per kWh. Nice.

    You were figuring 3 miles per kWh so that works out to a typical month of driving 600 EV miles on your Volt for less than $3 extra on you PG&E bill. If you were driving your 2004 Prius instead at 45 MPG you would have burned 13.3 gallons. Gasoline in the Bay Area right now is about $3.30 per gallon so that works out to $44 for the Prius versus $2.81 per month driving in EV mode in the Volt.

    Mixing things around, if you paid only $2.81 for those 13.3 gallons of gas you would have paid $0.21 per gallon. The last time gas was that cheap in absolute terms was 1946. However, when adjusted for inflation, that $0.21 gasoline is really $2.21. The cheapest gasoline ever when adjusted for inflation was $1.63 per gallon in 1998.


    • David Chow says:

      One mistake people make in calculating their bill is the “other” charges that are part of the bill but not part of the kwh price table. For instance the chart says 0.12 per kwh but after taxes and other fees it’s really 0.16 kwh. Which is a BIG difference when the volume of electricity you use high. Also in So Cal we have tiered rates that penalize you for go over a very very modest baseline usage amount. I was 700% over baseline last month pushing me into tier 4 at 0.36 kwh!

  4. Fred says:

    I should be getting my first bill fully on E9A in a few days and will post my results. My previous bill was actually E9A the full bill as well, but I only had the car for the final 2 weeks of the bill. Unlike Patrick, I go into Tier 3 and sometimes Tier 4, so we’ll see how the savings compare.

  5. Jeff N says:

    I was going to do a more detailed analysis of my new E9a bill here but I don’t have the time right now so I’ll just largely repost a rough interpretation that I wrote at GM-Volt:

    I finally got my first PG&E E9a bill (the first time I had eagerly waited for a utility bill).

    I used about 450 kWh per month prior to the Volt. With the Volt, my last bill with the E9a rate schedule was about $4 higher although I used around an additional 150 kWh charging the car almost entirely off-peak. During the same time, I averaged 28 kWh/100 miles or 3.57 miles per kWh according to my latest OnStar monthly report. That works out to roughly 535 miles of EV driving for a $4 increase in my bill while charging the car under the new E9 rate.

    I’m guessing my typical bill will include an additional 80 kWh or so off-peak at tier 3 and 4 at a blended rate of about $.16 per kWh for an added $13. That would be a total of $17 above my old average electricity bill prior to the Volt for around 800 EV miles at an effective rate of around $.02 per mile and $.075 per kWh. At around $4 a gallon and 46 or so mpg, it would cost about $.087 per mile or over 4x the fueling cost to drive my old 2004 Prius that same distance.

    Add in my 180 or so miles of gasoline use last month and the fueling advantage drops to 2.4x ($35 vs $85) since my Volt got an average of 41 mpg last month (and uses $4.20 premium gas) and so would have burned an extra 0.5 gallon versus my Prius. By comparison, one of the new “Eco” conventional gas small cars might average 32 mpg and burn $122 of gas at $.125 per mile.

  6. fch says:

    i have 7123 miles on my volt .. started driving it may 1st .. gas avg is 174 .. how do i find out how many hrs i have charged it .. on star?

  7. PatrickZWang says:

    Hey There,

    Checking Total Input to your Volt is a little harder right now unless you have a chargepoint station (which measures it).

    Check out my post on


    For more info on that

    MyVolt.com does have some statistics, but its just coming out now, and still a work in progress.

  8. Fred says:

    As of today, a total of 6142 Chevy Volts have been sold worldwide, many of them to dealerships as “promo cars” and others to the government itself. After $2.3B in Federal grants and loans and nearly $700M in state grants ($3B total), that means production costs for Volts sold to date is $487,000 EACH.

    I’m glad you’re saving $1.00 a month by driving less than average, about 30 miles a day. Meanwhile, the disposed batteries of the Volt will cost much money and can cause enormous damage to the environment– all the while taxpayers are subsidizing this otherwise unsustainable economic failure.

    • R. Ashton says:

      No, you are simply parroting right wing talking points in the Republicans’ orchestrated campaign to falsely claim the GM and Chrysler bailouts failed, while actually they were spectacularly successful. The taxpayers have already gotten back 30% of what we invested. Reagan’s Chrysler bailout in the ’80s worked, we got paid back 100%, and you guys loved it. Purely because he was a Republican. The taxpayer DID NOT pay for the development of the Volt, it was largely developed during the Bush administration before GM got the first of the bailout money in December 2008. Yes, it would not have come to market if Obama and the Democrats had not saved GM, but if they had not saved GM we would have plunged into a Depression, and tax revenues from failed businesses in Detroit and Ohio and elsewhere would have disappeared. So the federal government would have lost FAR MORE REVENUE from letting GM and Chrysler die, as Romney wanted, than the small amount they spent to save both companies. Wake up and learn math! And your pretense that you care about the environment is stupid. Your claim that the Volt, which gets the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon, is bad for the environment is laughable. All cars are recycled, look it up. Batteries are disposed of properly, just like your $120 battery on your Nissan is recycled (unless you illegally dump it, which you might do.) Go back to to your Romney cave, where you can cry in your beer on November 6th as you see that not every American gets their so-called information from right wing radio liars.

  9. Bagginz says:

    Well, Fred, your math is a little messed up. Even if your numbers are correct (and I’m not saying they are), you’re amortizing the development and manufacturing costs over only one year, while normal practice is to amortize over the entire production run. It took years for mighty Toyota to made back the R&D costs for the Prius. ANY new car takes hundreds of millions of dollars these days to bring to market.

    The lithium used in the Volt battery is less toxic than the NiMH used in conventional hybrids and much, much less toxic than the common lead acid battery you have in your car now. Nobody seems to be kvetching about the 1M+ Prius batteries in America, and about 97% of conventional lead acid batteries are recycled. So why the big deal about lithium ion? It can be recycled too. You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Furthermore, a high capacity battery like the Volt’s (or Leaf’s) can be used as cheap backup power to wind farms when the battery is too worn for a car, but not totally worn down. There are still kWh capacities there. Charge it when it’s windy and the grid requirements are low (usually at night), and discharge it during the day when it’s less windy and the powers needed. Good idea, no?

    Your bad math continues. In California, where gas is pricier, each charge of the Volt costs about $1.20 in electricity, and saves you about $4 in gas. Your dollar a month savings is more like $85/month.

    Finally, W’s administration and a Republican Congress, along with giving big tax breaks to energy companies, gave out tax credits for nascent hybrids like the Prius. This helped get hybrid technology on its feet. Now that the technology has matured, and has shown demonstrable savings in oil consumption and smog abatement, the tax credit is no longer needed, and just about every car manufacturer has incorporated hybrid know-how. This has been A Good Thing For America. If we can cut taxes for the energy conglomerates, and shell out the cash for hybrids, why is soooooo horrible to give a boost to a forward-looking cars like the Volt?

  10. Jim Fields says:

    What bunch of pooh! What happens to the state/government revenues($.50) cent a gallon? Hmmm?

    They will have to raise the electric rates to compensate for this loss.

  11. Grant says:

    I am a bit confused as to how driving electric cars will reduce the demand for oil. PG&E has rolling blackouts during the summer months, wants people to turn down their electric water heaters and raise the settings on their air conditioning. If we could just get everyone to buy electric cars how would we provide the additional oil, coal or natural gas for the utility power plants when everyone plugged in at 6:00 pm getting ready for the next day. Unless you live in the middle of a large city and work near home, who drives only thirty miles a day? I think the Fuel Cell may be the real answer, but then manufacturing requires power from the utility. The demand for electrical power will never go away and the demand for oil will remain. There is nothing clean about the production or disposal of batteries, much like the cry for fluorescent lamps which contain mercury and are not being recycled, all the experts will suddenly disappear and be in denial while we clean up the mess. What we need is additional modern refineries, a steady supply of our own oil and continued refinement of the internal combustion engine while taking the time needed to develop alternative sources of energy. Our tax dollars should not be spent turning GM into a branch of the government. If GM wants to improve the Volt, they should be using their money, not mine. I think that too many people don’t understand that energy is not free. When you plug in your car there is a demand for energy and the demand for fuel increases. While you as an individual may save some on gas, you are at the same time requiring the utility to burn more fuel, and the result will be, increased costs for the power supplied and we will all pay that increased cost.

    • R. Ashton says:

      The war against Iraq cost $1,000,000,000,000 ($1.0 trillion), yet you supported that expenditure of federal money. Oh wait, that was because IT WAS BUSH who launched that war, and you supported everything Bush did. America gained ZERO from that war, we not only did not get one barrel of oil, THE PRICE OF GASOLINE SHOT UP! (Not to mention all the people killed.) Yet you b***h and moan about 5% of that amount being spent to save our auto industry, which just so happens to be the World’s #1 car industry, we again surpassed Japan Worldwide after the auto bailout. Why would Republicans be venal and stupid enough to kill our car companies and simply hand Japan the auto crown? Before Bush, Republicans used to be loyal to this country. That Texas traitor has warped you guys, you cannot think straight anymore. You REALLY want to drive a Toyota Tundra pickup truck??? REALLY??? Sarah Palin is probably smarter than you.

  12. RealAmerican says:

    Grant, you said it all perfectly. I notice no one can even reply to your comment, because you have left them DUMBstruck. Thank you!

  13. Mary says:

    But, did anyone think that maybe when more people start using sun power/solar then plugging in your car to the big electric company won’t be necessary because your car will be recharged by power provided by the sun…

    Just a thought.

    And, batteries are everywhere.. your cell phone, flashlight, digital camera.. what happens to all of that stuff?


  14. David says:

    I see solar panels being installed on car shelters in school parking lots. Are these for electric car chargers?

  15. David says:

    In sunny states like Atizona, could we be able to drastically reduce gasoline usage by having solar powered charging stations?

  16. Joe says:

    I am looking into a Volt for a car; I am running the numbers and am figuring about saving about $1300/yr with the Volt. I am comparing the Volt with the Chevy Cruze and I am trying to determine the time it will take the Volt’s savings to make up the difference in cost of the Cruze. I expect to drive 20k miles a year. I estimated the cruze to get 32MPG and gas to cost $3.50 a gallon.

    Any thoughts?

  17. Edvin says:

    Hi everyone, I have just purchased my 1st volt, 2017 premier package. It’s great. It has all the goodies that Other luxury car companies offer and drives awesome and I leave in Southern California wher the gallon of gas cost $2.80 and keeps going up, even though the barrel of gas costs about $42. In today’s date, April 11, 2016. I’m excited, that finally American car companies are producing better cars. I’m in a car repair business and I’m very impressed with Chevy and hoping that ford will do the same. As far as it goes for Chrysler, well………….I will post my first bill when I get it.

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