PG&E seeks $3.6 billion in rate hikes for wildfire safety

California

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — PG&E is proposing to raise rates 5% in 2023, and then another 5% in each of the three subsequent years.

“Absolutely outrageous that PG&E is asking for a record breaking increase,” Mark Toney said.

Toney is with Turn the Utility Reform Network.   

“PG&E is asking for a four-year increase not just one year,” Toney said. “And each year it gets bigger and bigger, so by 2026 people will pay over 650$ more per year.”

PG&E would not go on camera but in a news release indicated the increase is to “further reduce wildfire risk and deliver safe, reliable and clean energy service.”

The proposal calls for under-grounding of power lines, removing trees that could strike power lines, and updating technology to pinpoint downed power lines within minutes.

“When they start getting through a wildfire season without burning down communities, then come talk to me about a rate increase,” Will Abrams said.

Abrams lost his home in the 2017 Tubbs Fire. 

He says any talk of rate increase must come after this fire season, and it must include specifics not generalities about what PG&E is going to do with the money to reduce wildfire risk.

“We need to make sure every dollar PG&E gets is tied to a specific metric and safety performance and the new wildfire safety division needs to go out and verify that,” he said.

The rate hike isn’t a done deal. It has to be approved by the CPUC and before that happens there will be a series of hearing at which the public can comment. 

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