PG&E rates to increase starting New Year's Day

PG&E customers will be paying more for electricity per month starting on New Year’s Day.

For a customer who gets gas and electricity from Pacific Gas and Electric and doesn't get a discounted rate, they could see their monthly bill go up by $2.64 on average.

Jacob Albert is a PG&E customer and said the company has to make changes. “I don’t mind the increase but the service has been kind of deplorable," he said.

He's referring to blackouts by the company known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs which have affected millions of Californians during extreme weather conditions in the wildfire season.

“I’m happy to pay $2 or $3 more a month if that goes toward making safer power lines and preventing future blackouts,” Albert added.

The rate increase was approved by regulatory agencies in the state.

According to the East Bay Times, electricity customers on a regular plan will see a 2.7 percent increase while gas customers will see a 1.3 percent reduction.

Overall, those getting both services will see a 1.5 percent hike on their monthly bill.

PG&E reportedly filed paperwork Friday that alludes to possibly another rate increase at some point in 2020 with the money being used for power transmission costs and a bond measure.

But there is no timetable or cost estimate at this point.

Oakland resident Monica Branch feels the increase seems necessary if future issues are going to be addressed. Branch said, "If they’re raising rates to benefit and put the power lines underground, which they should be doing in the first place, then it’s honestly necessary." 

The money could be used to pull the company out of bankruptcy after the Wall Street Journal stated the company was responsible for roughly 1500 wildfires across the state.

PG&E customer Fred Brechtel says he sympathizes with the major responsibility the utility company has. "You’ve got a lot of lines to maintain and those maintenance costs and keeping up with all of that is a big job," he said.

He wants to make sure the extra revenue won't be squandered. “If they’re just planning on using it for management bonuses or things like that, well I might have a little problem with that," Brechtel said. 

With all the lawsuits and rising debts, Albert would like to see more accountability. “It’s beholden to stakeholders, not to its consumers, not to its employees, not to the state and it seems like yeah, competition or a state takeover or more competition would be good,” he concluded.

PG&E reportedly filed paperwork on Friday that alludes to possibly another rate increase sometime in 2020.