Politics

PG&E Rate Proposal Would Raise Rates on Low-Income Customers, Moderate Energy Users

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Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Touted as Helping the Central Valley, Proposal Would Raise Rates for Most Valley Customers

SAN FRANCISCO – The Greenlining Institute today filed comments with the California Public Utilities Commission opposing a draft CPUC decision to allow Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to significantly change its electricity rates, shifting more of the burden onto low-income customers and those who use lower amounts of energy.

The CPUC has issued draft decisions that propose to grant three out of four of PG&E’s main residential rate proposals, each of which would raise electricity rates for low-income customers and customers with low or moderate levels of energy use.  One proposal would immediately add a $2.40 monthly customer charge to every low-income customer’s bill and a $3.00 customer charge for all other customers.  PG&E’s proposal to raise “Tier 3” rates for low-income customers would add an additional $18.00 monthly to the bills of customers in the Central Valley who use a moderate amount of energy.

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In contrast, all of PG&E’s rate proposals would lower rates for customers who have the most extreme level of power usage.

“These proposals rob Peter to pay Paul – even though Peter has less money and is doing a better job of saving energy,” said Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel Stephanie Chen. “PG&E claims that these changes would bring relief to customers in the hot Central Valley, but only a minority of Central Valley customers would see lower bills – those who use energy excessively, including those with especially large homes.  Most customers in the Central Valley and elsewhere – including all low-income customers and all moderate energy users – would see their bills rise.”

A pending state Senate bill, SB 142, would write into state law changes to utility rate policy that would have effects similar to PG&E’s proposal. The Greenlining Institute strongly opposes this legislation.

Greenlining’s full comments on the proposal are available online here.