Pacific Gas & Electric Co. residential electricity prices have surged to more than double the national average, according to recent data from the Public Advocates Office at the California Public Utilities Commission. The report reveals a 38% increase in rates from January 2021 to September 2023, and a staggering 92% rise from January 2014 to September 2023. The primary factors driving these increases are wildfire mitigation efforts, transmission and distribution investments, and rooftop solar incentives.
Mike Campbell, a program manager with the Public Advocates Office, expressed concern over the escalating rates, which are outpacing inflation. He attributed the high costs to PG&E’s spending on the aforementioned factors. Campbell suggested that selling more electricity could potentially alleviate the pressure on rates, provided that the timing of energy usage does not strain the grid.
PG&E responded to the data by acknowledging its responsibility to provide safe and reliable service while stabilizing bills. The utility company stated that it reduced operating costs by 3% in 2022 and is managing 125 projects to further cut costs. However, PG&E is currently seeking regulatory approval for another rate hike to fund the long-term project of burying power lines in high-risk areas to prevent wildfires.
Customers are expressing frustration over the rising costs, especially given that PG&E rates are already higher than most utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission is considering two alternative plans to PG&E’s proposal, both of which would cost customers less but would reduce the work to bury power lines. A vote on these plans could occur next month.
Read more at KCRA.