SAN FRANCISCO – California regulators are set to decide on Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E (NYSE:)) proposed rate increases today, which could see customer bills rise substantially from January. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering two budget plans that suggest either a 12% or nearly 10% increase in monthly rates for PG&E customers. The decision comes after a series of delays and intense scrutiny from state regulators.
The proposed rate hikes would translate to an additional $25 to $31 on average monthly bills, adding to the cumulative $100 increase customers have experienced over the past eight years. PG&E has faced rigorous examination from regulators leading to a $2 billion reduction from their initially requested $15 billion budget. The utility company justifies the proposed increases citing inflation and the costs associated with fire-safety measures, including insulating power lines or relocating them underground.
In addition to setting customer rates, the CPUC will also determine a spending cap for PG&E on programs such as wildfire and vegetation management, which have been significant factors in the rising rates. Despite the looming increases, PG&E maintains that these hikes are an exception, emphasizing their commitment to limiting future rate increases to at or below inflation levels. Customers and stakeholders await the commission’s verdict with the hope for a balance between necessary safety improvements and financial impact on consumers.
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