Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
CPUC Votes Down Customer Charge Sought by Utility
SAN FRANCISCO – Low-income consumers won a significant victory today as the California Public Utilities Commission rejected a key portion of Pacific Gas and Electric’s proposal to increase electricity rates for low-income customers.
The CPUC declined to approve a PG&E residential rate change that would immediately add a flat $2.40 monthly customer charge to every low-income customer’s bill and a $3.00 customer charge for all other customers. The commission did okay modifications to the CARE rate structure for low-income customers that will mean rate increases for some low-income ratepayers who use moderate amounts of energy.
“While consumer advocates didn’t get everything we hoped for, we’re delighted that the CPUC rejected the customer charge, which would have disproportionately affected low-income customers and those who conserve energy,” said Greenlining Senior Legal Counsel Stephanie Chen. “Millions of California families are struggling to keep the lights on and still afford food and rent, and these families need protection.”
Chen noted that the upcoming review of budgets for the utilities’ low-income assistance programs will offer a chance to mitigate the impact of the new rates. “We will be working closely with the commission, the utilities and other consumer advocates to ensure that these essential programs best serve the families that rely on them,” Chen said.