Rate increases took effect Monday for residential customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that the company said were mostly a response to heightened wildfire risks but which consumer advocates called part of a troubling pattern of rising costs.
The investor-owned utility said Friday higher prices approved in December by the California Public Utilities Commission will raise the bill of PG&E’s average electric and gas customer by 4.6 percent, or $8.73 per month. A jump in electricity rates accounted for most of the increase.
PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs posted a message online saying the San Francisco-based utility recognizes the increases “may be a hardship for many” and highlighting tools and other assistance the company offers to help people keep their bills low.
Consumer advocates who had argued for a sharper limit on PG&E’s spending said Monday they were concerned about the utility’s continuing rate increases.
Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network, said by email PG&E’s customers are paying more but still can’t rely on the company’s service or trust its safety record.
“So naturally customers are angry about these latest and obviously ill-timed rate hikes,” Spatt wrote.