'It's just ridiculous:' Locals react to PG&E's proposal for increased rates, profits

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The cost of just keeping the lights on is already a struggle for dozens who walked into PG&E headquarters Tuesday.

Nearly every customer said they were there to make a partial payment or payment arrangement.

"It's just ridiculous," said Fresno resident Lily Rivera. "I would say very ridiculous because right now I'm just coming to give one payment because I can't even afford to pay the whole bill."

"I think it's completely unacceptable and I think that PG&E needs to look at internally before they go externally with any types of increases," said Clovis resident Kathelyne Claborne.

With the summer heat nearing and an expected hike in bills for many, some customers are wondering what next year will be like if the California Public Utilities Commission allows the proposed increases.

The $22 a month average increase includes PG&E's request from last December and their current request submitted Monday.

PG&E officials told Action News "We understand that any increase to customer rates can be significant, and that this approach is neither the best nor the preferred solution to the current crisis."

Angie Valdovinos of Fresno doesn't feel like the burden of the utility company's dismal financial state should be placed on the backs of customers.

"It's unfair. I pay like, I have like four bedrooms with like eight in the family too and it's hard," she said. "My husband works in the fields. I paid what last month, $255 a bill. I don't even turn on the air right now. Imagine when summer comes for the air."

If the rate increase proposal is approved it would take effect in January of next year.

Over the next four years PG&E says the company plans to fund $28 billion in infrastructure and the rate increase would help offset it.
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