PG&E monthly bills set to rise in early 2020 after PUC vote

PG&E bills would rise after state approval of company's cost of capital proposal

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PG&E monthly gas and electricity bills are set to rise sometime during the first few months of 2020 after state regulators approved the embattled utility’s request for more revenue from ratepayers.

The higher utility rates were approved by the state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, a move that the company says is required to bolster PG&E’s efforts to attract necessary funding to improve the safety and reliability of its aging gas and electricity systems.

PG&E monthly power bills will rise an estimated 31 cents a month for people who receive both gas and electricity services from the company, the utility estimated.

For the average electricity customer, monthly bills would rise 20 cents from the current level $113.64 to a new level of $113.84, PG&E estimated. Those figures are based on an average bundled residential electricity customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours per month.

For the average gas customer, monthly bills would rise 11 cents, taking the bill amounts from the current $54.91 to a new average amount of $55.01, according to PG&E estimates. This example is based on an average residential gas customer who uses 34 therms a month.

“PG&E’s cost of capital proposal, which includes both gas and electric operations, is designed to make sure PG&E can meet the energy needs of its customers by attracting the critical funding necessary to invest in and increase the safety and reliability of its energy system,” company spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said.

The PUC voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve the requests of PG&E and some of the other major power companies in California for ratepayer financing to cover their respective costs of obtaining capital.

“Capital is a critical part of operating a utility and providing safe and reliable service for ratepayers,” Commissioner Marybel Batjer, president of the five-member PUC, said prior to the state agency’s vote.

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