Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PG&E Seeking Rate Increase

PG&E formally notified the PUC yesterday that it will seek a whopping 6.4% rate increase this December. The increase would kick in 2011 if it is approve by the commission, which likely will vote on it in late 2010.

The rate increase would fund upkeep and maintenance of the PG&E's system infrastructure, which currently costs about $2.2 billion a year ($2.7 billion with the propsed rate increase).

But this is just the tip of the ice berg.

Additional rate increases would follow--1.4% in 2012 and 1.8% in 2013.

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, David Baker notes:

"Some categories of customers would see a larger increase than others. But starting in January 2011, a typical homeowner's monthly electricity bill would rise $2.20 to reach $76.27. People with larger houses that use more power would pay $16.80 more per month than they do today, for a total of $180.48. Meanwhile, monthly natural gas bills for all homes would rise by an average of $3.30."

Baker also quotes TURN which sums up the situation rather succinctly:

"Every time, they talk about reliability, and it doesn't get better," said Matt Freedman, staff attorney with The Utility Reform Network, a consumer watchdog group. "Will the commission reward them, again, for poor performance? It's like the most perverse incentive on earth."