Friday, May 16, 2008

PG&E Wants To Upgrade the Grid

PG&E has a six year, $2.3 billion plan to upgrade its grid to prevent the blackouts which tend to plague PG&E customers more than other utilities. The PUC is expected to vote on the plan by year's end.

Upgrading the grid is a good thing, clearly, but $2.3 billion is a big number and PG&E plans to pass the cost on to ratepayers, which has some watchdog groups crying foul.

TURN notes that grid maintenance is already funded by ratepayers through their monthly bill so this amounts to something of a double dip. But PG&E counters that the proposed plan which the utility is calling the "Cornerstone Improvement Plan," goes way beyond the basic $2.8 billion annual maintenance currently performed.

Under the plan, monthly utility bills could jump $1.04 by 2014.

PG&E wants to upgrade electricity grid [San Francisco Chronicle]