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Average PG&E bill to jump $35 a month this year

blue PG&E pickup truck
Starting on Jan. 1, the typical PG&E electricity and gas customer will see their rates rise about $34.50—13%—compared with current bills. | Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The end of the year is typically a whirl of activity as deadline pressures hit the holiday season.

Presumably, the same forces impacted Oakland-based utility Pacific Gas & Electric, which used the last business day of the year to file for an even greater rate increase than was approved in November.

Starting Jan. 1, the typical PG&E electricity and gas customer will see their monthly rates rise about $34.50—13%—compared with current bills. That works out to $414 more in utility payments for the year, which would mark a historic increase.

Regulators had previously approved a $32.50 monthly increase in typical residential customers to start in 2024.

Mark Toney, the executive director of the Utility Reform Network, a consumer advocacy group, said the lack of limits on rate increases is leading to a squeeze on a critical service for customers.

“There’s no limits on much PG&E can ask for and how many times a year they can ask. There’s also no limits on how much [regulators] can authorize,” Toney said. “That’s why they can ask for another rate increase just weeks after they already received one.”

Toney’s group is pushing for a limit cap on increases that are set at the cost-of-living allowances provided by Social Security.

In a blog post published on PG&E’s website explaining the increases, the company cited “substantial investments in its energy system,” including reducing wildfire risk and capacity increases.

In an interview earlier this month on CNBC, PG&E CEO Patti Poppe touted some of these improvements, saying the company has reduced its wildfire risk by 94%.

“We’ve been reducing our physical and financial risk at the company,” Poppe said, pointing to technology to quickly de-energize lines and better real-time monitoring of the company’s system.

Company shareholders also received a welcome bit of news when the company reinstated its quarterly dividend that will begin paying out in January.

The company had suspended its dividend—a portion of paid out of profits to shareholders—in 2017 because of liabilities stemming from its role in devastating wildfires in Northern California.

Those liabilities, as well as PG&E’s role in even more deadly and destructive fires the year after, led to a 2019 bankruptcy filing. PG&E officially exited bankruptcy in 2020.

Kevin Truong can be reached at