PG&E customers will see their electric and gas bill increase by an average of over $32 per month, starting next year.
The increases, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday, will pay for PG&E to bury power lines to prevent them from starting wildfires.
The big picture: PG&E had requested permission to raise rates by more than $38 per month to bury 2,100 miles of power lines at high risk for wildfires, but the CPUC rejected this proposal as too costly.
- The CPUC approved a scaled-back plan allowing PG&E to bury 1,230 miles of power lines, which will cost $1.7 billion less than PG&E’s initial proposal.
- The remaining power lines will be insulated with protective covering to reduce the risk of wildfires.
- About 16 million people in California will have their rates increase by around $32.50 in 2024 and $4.50 in 2025. Bills should decrease by $8 per month in 2026.
- Low-income customers who qualify for discounted rates should see their typical monthly bill increase by $21.50 next year, followed by a $3 per month increase in 2025 before decreasing by $5.50 per month in 2026.
What they’re saying: “We are committed to being the safe operator that the people of California expect and deserve,” PG&E CEO Patti Poppe said in a statement. “We appreciate the Commission for recognizing the important safety and reliability investments we are making on behalf of our customers, including undergrounding powerlines to permanently reduce wildfire risk.”