Regulators approve fixed rates for utility bills

It’s a move that is expected to lower electrical bills for people who need air conditioning in the summer.

Changes are coming to how some California power companies calculate bills. 

The decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday will make it cheaper for people in the summer but increase prices for people who use less energy. 


The big picture: Per the CPUC, PG&E and other utilities will add a fixed charge to bills every month, coming in at $24.15 for most people. 

  • People in lower income tiers will pay either $6 or $12 per month. 
  • Along with the flat fee, the electricity cost will fall by 5 cents to 7 cents per kilowatt hour. 
  • PG&E customers will see their bills affected starting early next year. 

Go deeper: The CPUC said people living in Fresno should see their bills drop by $33 in the summer, meaning the savings on the kilowatt hour price drop would be larger than the new fixed charge. 

  • Electric car owners and users of electric appliances like heat pumps will save an average of $28 to $44 per month.
  • However, people who use less energy, such as those living in smaller apartments or cooler areas, may see an increase in their monthly bills due to the fixed charge.

What they’re saying: “It provides affordability for lower-income Californians and those living in other parts of the state most impacted by extreme weather,” said CPUC President Alice Busching Reynolds.

  • Sylvie Ashford, an Energy and Climate Policy Analyst with The Utility Reform Network, applauded the move 
  • “With temperatures soaring into the 80s and 90s this week, we are reminded of the importance of affordable electricity for Californians,” Ashford said. “Households shouldn’t face financial strain just to stay cool during hotter days, especially those residing in Inland regions. By lowering the price of electricity for all and incorporating an income-graduated component, the CPUC is modernizing its approach and taking an important step to ensure electricity is affordable for all.”
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