P G & E spokesperson Jeff Smith says the utility company is also feeling a financial crunch. "The price of natural gas is going up just like you're seeing the price at the pump go up. Natural gas is what is used to produce a big portion of the electricity that's used in the state."
P G & E says skyrocketing gas prices and low water levels for hydroelectric power are the main reasons for the rate increases.
Machuka says she and her kids have no choice but to take major steps to reduce the family's electric bill. "I hope next month's bill is lower because we're trying to save energy by not washing every day and drying and leaving the ac off even if it's hot we open up the windows."
We should find out fairly soon if the public utility commission approves the rate increase. Machuka says she's going to apply for P G & E energy assistance program called CARE - where low-income and fixed-income families can save 20-percent on their utility bill.