Published on November 17, 2023, 3:31 am

Pg&Amp;E Granted Approval To Raise Rates For Wildfire Mitigation Efforts In California

California’s major utility provider, PG&E Corporation, has received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to raise its rates by 11% in 2023. This rate increase is part of a larger plan to incrementally raise rates through 2026 in order to finance PG&E’s efforts to bury power lines underground. The objective behind this initiative is to address the escalating risk of wildfires that have been devastating California in recent years.

In 2023 alone, PG&E will be able to collect a total of $13.5 billion from its customers, a significant increase from the $12.2 billion collected in 2022. The main purpose of these rate hikes is to fund PG&E’s strategy to underground power lines. This approach is considered crucial in combating the wildfires that have caused extensive destruction across the state over the past decade.

The rate increases will not end in 2023 but will continue with a gradual rise of 5.3% in 2024, followed by increases of 2.5% in 2025 and finally 1.4% in 2026. By the end of these incremental hikes, PG&E expects its revenue to increase by $221 million between 2023 and 2026. This decision comes at a time when average monthly bills for PG&E residential customers have already seen a noticeable surge. According to a report by the California Public Advocate Office, these bills have risen by an alarming rate of 92% over the past decade.

While the CPUC approves PG&E’s General Rate Case (GRC) for 2023-2026 as a means to finance critical safety investments, it is clear that residents will feel the impact. Although typical residential non-CARE monthly combined gas and electric bills are projected to increase by an average of 3.6% over three years due to this GRC, it is important to note that the primary objective is to enhance safety and reliability. The GRC funds various initiatives, such as undergrounding power lines, which will have a lasting impact on reducing wildfire risk and other safety and reliability investments.

It’s evident that these rate hikes may come as a burden to California residents, but they are essential to mitigate the devastating effects of wildfires. By investing in the undergrounding of power lines, PG&E aims to create a safer and more reliable electrical infrastructure for the state. While the cost may be significant, the long-term benefits in terms of reduced wildfire risks and enhanced safety make these financial efforts necessary.

In conclusion, PG&E’s approval to raise its rates by 11% in 2023 marks a step towards financing crucial wildfire mitigation efforts in California. The rate increases over the next few years will contribute to burying power lines underground, ultimately reducing the risk of wildfires across the state. While residents will experience higher bills as a result, the focus remains on strengthening safety and reliability for all Californians.

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