While recreational marijuana cannot be sold in California until January 2018, existing medical marijuana growers and future recreational marijuana growers have become eligible as of March 1 for Pacific Gas & Electric’s agricultural energy rate.
The passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016 began the process, by giving the state the go-ahead 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, VP of Customer Service at San Francisco-based 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 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.