Mixed bag of rates for PG&E customers to start 2013

by Mark Glover, Sacramento Bee

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said that residential customers will see a "significant decline" in natural gas rates and a "modest increase" in electric rates to kick off 2013.

San Francisco-based PG&E said changes will cover utility costs of maintaining and modernizing its system and of meeting a state mandate to buy more renewable energy.

PG&E said average rates for residential gas customers will dip nearly 6 percent in January compared with January 2012, thanks in part to lower wholesale costs for gas.

The utility added, however, that customers should expect an increase of about 2 percent as early as February, reflecting spending approved by the California Public Utilities Commission for PG&E’s Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan.

Average residential electric rates will increase about 2.6 percent system-wide compared with last January, PG&E said. The utility said customers will likely face another electric rate increase of about 2 percent in May.

PG&E said a January 2012 gas bill of $82.37 for 72 therms will be $77.47 this January.

The utility said a January 2012 electric bill of $89.31 for 550 kilowatt hours will come in at $91.60 this month.

For 850 kilowatt hours, the 2012 electric bill of $184.23 will be $188.05 this January. For 1,200 kilowatt hours of monthly power use, the 2012-to-2013 rate will go from $301.54 to $307.13.