MENDOCINO Co., 3/1/17 — Most people now see it as highly likely that marijuana will one day be fully legal. But the march towards the normalization of cannabis has moved forward in fits and starts, through large constitutional actions like the referendum on Prop. 64, and through small cultural and non-governmental actions as well. One more little step was taken today, when Pacific Gas and Electric announced that as of today, March 1, cannabis farmers are eligible for agricultural rates, and special programs.
The program applies to both indoor and outdoor growers, but does not apply to residential growers doing their state allowed six plants for personal use.
Growers must have a local license and use 70% of their power towards ag purposes like lights, or water pumps.
The full press release is below:
March 1, 2017
Agricultural Cannabis Growers Now Eligible for PG&E Ag Rate and Programs
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — While recreational marijuana cannot be sold in California until January 2018, existing medical marijuana growers and future recreational marijuana growers will be eligible as of March 1 for PG&E’s agricultural energy rate.
The passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016 allows the state to license and regulate recreational marijuana cultivation and businesses.
“Cannabis is a legal crop in our state, like almonds and tomatoes. Agricultural growers now will be eligible for the same rate and energy efficiency programs as farmers of other crops,” said Deborah Affonsa, vice president of Customer Service at PG&E.
PG&E customers are eligible for agricultural energy rates if they have received a permit from their local jurisdiction for the cultivation of cannabis and if 70 percent or more of the annual energy use on the meter is for agricultural end-uses such as growing crops, pumping water for agricultural irrigation or other uses that involve agricultural production for sale which do not change the form of the product. The agricultural energy rate applies both to customers who grow cannabis outdoors and those who grow indoors in commercial greenhouses.
The agricultural energy rate does not apply to residential customers who can legally grow up to six marijuana plants inside a private residence per the state Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
Previously, medical marijuana was not considered an agricultural product by PG&E, and growers were not eligible for the agricultural energy rate. Because medical marijuana can be grown and sold in California currently, licensed growers of medical marijuana are immediately eligible for the agriculture energy rate.
Cannabis growing operations can use an extremely large amount of electricity and are considered to be equivalent to other energy-intensive operations such as data centers.
“We’ve met with representatives of the emerging legal cannabis industry and listened to their needs. We are here to help our customers make smart, efficient and affordable energy choices. Now that cannabis is in California’s future, our next step is to work with these new agricultural customers and make this industry as energy efficient as possible,” said Affonsa.
PG&E’s agricultural rates are under the jurisdiction of the California Public Utilities Commission and the state of California.
Agricultural customers with questions about rates, rules and energy efficiency programs can learn more at pge.com/ag or contact PG&E’s dedicated Agricultural Customer Service Center at 1-877-311-3276.