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PG&E to hike energy bills—on top of already sky-high rates

Two PG&E SmartMeters are attached to a wall with pipes above and below them.
Two PG&E SmartMeters on a residential building in Berkeley | Adobe Stock | Source: Adobe Stock

Feeling sticker shock from your latest PG&E bill? It could only get worse from here. 

The utility company says it’s planning a 16.3% increase to all energy bills compared with rates in January 2022 to account for inflation and around $13 billion in new investments in maintenance and facilities. 

That’s on top of already eye-popping energy rates that are spiking Californians’ bills, mainly driven by high demand and low supply of gas in California

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the rate hikes, plans to make a decision on the planned increase in the fall of 2023. 

“We know that any proposed increase to our customers’ rates and bills can be challenging,” PG&E wrote in a statement to The Standard. “We will continue to support our customers with a variety of rate plan options, energy savings programs and tools, and financial assistance programs for eligible customers.”

So where will this money actually go? In its application for the rate increase, PG&E said it plans to spend the new revenue on clean energy investments and improvements to its electric and gas systems. 

Much of the new investments are planned for wildfire safety—like expanded vegetation management and burying 10,000 miles of power lines underground—after the utility claimed responsibility for the Camp Fire that killed 84 people in Paradise, California, in 2018. It’s now facing trial for manslaughter in a more recent blaze. 

One small form of relief for customers is the state Climate Credit, which the CPUC bumped up from April of this year and should immediately credit around $90 on the bills for all customers who buy both gas and electric from PG&E. 

Overall, the utility says its goal is to stabilize bills to at or below the cost of inflation.