The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is expected to vote soon on whether to approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s request to increase utility rates by 18 percent in 2023. That’s on top of another 9-percent rate increase that took effect Jan. 1 of this year.
If the new rates are approved as is, the average PG&E customer would be saddled with an additional cost of $31.41 per month in 2023. That’s a nearly 30 percent increase in two years. PG&E says rates would continue to increase through 2026.
Hundreds of PG&E customers spoke out against the rate increase during a handful of public workshops in March.
“PG&E is asking for more money after burning down our homes,” one PG&E customer told a reporter from California Energy Markets. “We are paying too much, us consumers.”
Consumer watchdog group The Utility Reform Network (TURN) blamed the California Public Utilities Commission for the rate increases.
“The only reason our bills are skyrocketing is because the California Public Utilities Commission has approved increase after increase after increase,” TURN Executive Director Mark Toney said.
Representatives for PG&E said the utility has been forced to pass the increasing costs of energy production along to its customers. The ongoing drought has reduced the amount of hydroelectric power available, and the prices of natural gas are up by nearly 90 percent. The funds generated by the increase will also help improve overall safety and utility distribution.
The CPUC was expected to make a decision in Q2 of 2022. However, the agenda for the June 23 in San Francisco meeting didn’t have it listed. Another meeting will be held on July 14 in Los Angeles.
Visit the CPUC’s website to view a schedule of upcoming meetings or to submit a public comment about PG&E’s proposed rate hikes.
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