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Dyer Calls out PG&E During State of the City Speech
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 weeks ago on
May 9, 2024

Jerry Dyer delivers the State of the City address, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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With Pacific Gas and Electric’s table just feet away, Mayor Jerry Dyer called out the utility for high energy rates — making life harder for the city, and its residents.

Dyer delivered the rebuke during his annual State of the City address, hosted by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, at the Fresno Convention Center.

“I’m calling on PG&E executives to tighten their belts, as all of us are doing, and loosen up on some of those profits … This is a corporation that reported a $2.24 billion profit last year. Yes, with a ‘b.’ PG&E has increased rates 14 times since 2020, resulting in a 71% increase in PG&E bills. This is no longer sustainable. Enough is enough. It is time to give back to our community,” Dyer said to applause.

More than 950 attended the event. Dyer clocked in at 52 minutes (not including a post-speech prayer).

PG&E Responds

In a response, PG&E told GV Wire it “is doing our part to lower prices. PG&E is exploring dozens of additional ways to reduce our operating costs, and to reduce or delay costs we are required to pass on to customers. About a third of what customers pay for energy today is a result of state policy.”

The utility giant said state-mandated programs “burden low-income households.”

Examples the company provided:

  • “Public Purpose Programs make up about 6% of the price of electricity today. This includes charges for energy efficiency, low-income discounts, and other public policy goals”;
  • Non-solar customers pay 15% or $34 more a month to subsidize grid maintenance costs.

“PG&E supports removing state subsidies from customers’ bills. These programs, while serving societal benefits are not part of delivering energy to customers,” company spokesman Jeff Smith said in an email.

Smith said increased rates are not paying for shareholder dividends, executive compensation, or fines.

“We’re here to help our customers save energy and money, helping them find the best rate plan for their household or business, sharing free and low-cost actions to help them reduce energy usage and better manage monthly bills, and offering bill assistance programs to income-eligible customers,” Smith said.

The PG&E table at the State of the City. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Balanced Budget Coming …

Dyer said he will deliver a balanced budget to the city council next Thursday. At one point, the city faced a $47 million deficit.

Dyer did have a request of the city council.

“It is my hope that the council motions will be limited this year. I know that most of them are here today, because when council motions are made, the deficit grows and then I have to go in and figure out a way with the team and the council to balance the budget again. So hopefully those motions will be few and far between,” Dyer said.

Dyer presents the budget at a special city council meeting on May 16. City council budget hearings start June 3, with a final vote as late as June 27.

The mayor highlighted economic elements to help with the budget. The city’s credit rating is now AA, which helps it save interest money when it borrows, up to $4.5 million.

Sales tax is down, but property tax is up. A deal with Airbnb will net the city $2 million more in transit occupancy taxes.

With 11 cannabis retailers now open, the city anticipates $7 million from the industry in the next fiscal year.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer (center) talks with attendees of the State of the City Address, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (GV Wire/David Taub)

… So Could Garbage Rate Increases

Dyer also lobbied for an increase for city trash rates. A plan in front of the city council would increase the rate for the standard 64-gallon container from $19.20 a month to $41.24, a 114% in five years.

The last garbage rate increase was 2009.

“That is one time in the last 15 years and we have run out of reserves in order to augment or save our budget,” Dyer said.

The city sent utility customers a protest card that can be mailed back postage-free. If a majority of rate payers return the protest card, the city council cannot consider a rate hike.

The cards are due by June 20 — in the middle of budget season — when the city council will decide.

Other Speech Highlights

  • The state’s $250 million pledge for downtown Fresno infrastructure may be delayed by an additional budget year;
  • Fresno may not be an ideal location for chip manufacturing because of the lack of water, but Dyer wants Fresno to be a player in the semiconductor industry;
  • Highlighting the city’s recruitment of new businesses, Dyer called for more affordable housing — a 1,664% increase in the last five years — and touted homeless support services;
  • Crime is down, and the anti-graffiti program is showing success;
  • Supported Measure C — the county sales tax for transportation — by using the opening of Veterans Boulevard as an example;
  • Concluded with a call for parents to be parents to their children.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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