PG&E wants customers to pay for safety upgrades

PG&E is proposing to hike customer bills by 5% to increase safety against the threat of wildfires and have more clean energy.

Posted: Sep 21, 2021 5:46 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2021 11:01 AM

CHICO, Calif. - PG&E is proposing a 5% general case rate hike in an effort to increase safety to protect from wildfires and to help reach California’s clean energy goals.

"I mean you can't make it up to them,” Camp Fire survivor Linda Wolfe said. “Money just doesn't do it, and now they are going to be charging us more."

Wolfe’s home may have survived the fire, but she and others living on The Ridge still feel the impacts.

"It doesn't just end with the fire, it goes on,” Wolfe told Action News Now.

The spike would make both residential and business customer bills to go up $5 for every $100 currently paid.

"That would go to pay for things to improve the safety and reliability of the gas and electric system, help California meet its clean energy goals and to create a safer and more resilient system to help protect against wildfires,” PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno told Action News Now.

One of these wildfire mitigation projects is to take power poles and move them underground in high-fire risk areas. PG&E has already started doing this in Paradise and Berry Creek.

"It’s taken a while, but we do appreciate it. But that doesn't negate what has happened in the past,” Wolfe said.

PG&E also wants to create more weather stations to track conditions, implement more high definition fire cameras around the state and protect lines from weather and other threats.

Although, you might not see the change in your bill just yet as PG&E does not have the final say in the rate hike.

"Our rate application is before the California Public Utilities Commission,” Moreno said. “They are reviewing this application."

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) already held its first meeting on Aug. 30 and they plan to have more meetings in early 2022.

"It does seem kind of funny that we would have to pay extra on the bills, so they can pay us for the damage caused by the fires,” Wolfe told Action News Now.

Click here to make a comment on the CPUC’s decision on the rate increase.

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