CPUC unanimously approves new PG&E rate hike to cover wildfire mitigation projects

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Friday, March 8, 2024
CPUC approves new PG&E rate hike for wildfire prevention programs
The CPUC on Thursday unanimously approved new PG&E rate hike to cover for wildfire mitigation projects.

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Thursday, the CPUC voted again to allow PG&E to raise rates in a 4-0 vote, expected to take effect in April.

This comes after a rate increase just went into effect on Jan. 1.

"It's criminal profiteering, that's what it is, it's criminal profiteering at the expense of the people," said Richard Becker, a member of the Coalition to Stop the PG&E Rate Hikes.

PG&E says it will amount to about $3.65 for the average electric customer.

MORE: After rate hikes this year, PG&E announces nearly 25% increase in profits to $2.2B for 2023

CPUC commissioners had no public discussion before the vote.

"I think that is disrespectful to customers, and that the commissioners owe it to the customers to explain their vote for yet another increase," Mark Toney, executive director of TURN said.

Toney, executive director of TURN, The Utility Reform Network, points out that this increase is on top of the hike that already went into effect on Jan. 1, which averaged around $38 a month per customer.

This is despite the utility reporting last year's profits surged to more than $2.2 billion, a jump of almost 25%.

RELATED: PG&E claims there is no connection between rate increases, $2.2 billion jump in earnings

"It doesn't make any sense for PG&E to keep crying poor when the fact is, they are more profitable than they've ever been in their history, it is not right," he said.

"The Wildfire Gas and Safety Cost Interim Rate Relief decision authorizes a temporary rate change to start recouping a portion of the money that was spent for wildfire mitigation and delivering key safety, compliance and modernization investments for our energy system," said Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokesperson.

They're looking to recover a maximum of $516 million, which has already been spent on upgrades like undergrounding power lines.

The Coalition to Stop the PG&E Rate Hikes is now calling for a rollback.

"Passing rate increases like this will mean more evictions, it will mean more suffering for people and yet we have this unelected utilities commission that's supposed to be protecting our interests against these monopoly corporations and they've completely failed," Becker said.

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