PG&E rate hikes leaves customers stunned – NBC Bay Area

Some Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers are up in arms after seeing their recent bills.

The eye-popping increases is the first bill customers are seeing since a rate hike went into effect this month. PG&E customers can expect another increase in a couple months.

“It’s not really fair at all for anyone, especially lower income,” PG&E customer Sean Moore said.

Moore’s bill jumped $80 this month.

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Investigative Reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken about the latest PG&E rate hike leaving customers in disbelief.

Most people who spoke with NBC Bay Area on Thursday said they rarely use the heat anymore as a result. And while they expect to pay a little more for turning up the heat as temperatures dropped, customers did not expect such a drastic increase.

“This month my bill was $220, which is off the hook,” San Jose resident Gloria Becerra said.

Becerra’s bill might seem low, but it’s usually much lower because she also has solar power.

“Last month was $100 and something, but it doubled this month,” she said. “I’ve never paid more than probably $50. Sometimes I don’t even get a bill from PG&E. This is nuts.”

Most customers who spoke to NBC Bay Area on Thursday did not know about the new increase, which was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission last month. The average bill has now jumped from $260 to about $295.

PG&E said that money will mostly go toward permanent wildfire risk reduction, and capacity upgrades to support new business connections.

PG&E on Thursday provided a statement, saying in part: “We are committed to helping our customers save energy and money by helping them find their best rate plan, sharing ideas on using less energy and offering financial assistance programs to income-eligible customers, including an expanded bill support program.”

As NBC Bay Area first reported, there is another increase in the works to pay for last year’s storm damage. If regulators approve it in March, the typical electric bill will go up another $14.

Customers said the increases are painful.

“We’ve started having to just deal with mornings being cold, double wrap ourselves in blankets and stuff,” Moore said.

PG&E customers are now paying more for power than anyone else in California. This latest rate hike starts this week and we could see another rate hike later this year. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Mark Toney, of the ratepayer advocacy program TURN for some insight.

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