PG&E Customers Face Triple Whammy In Gas And Electric Bills

by George Avalos, East Bay Times

utilitiesmoney-smPG&E’s customers face a triple whammy in the coming months with higher monthly gas and electricity costs, even so the utility argued Monday that ratepayers still pay below the national average.

The array of increases in power rates began on Monday — the first day of higher gas bills that are rolling out to customers throughout August.

Before Monday’s hike, total monthly bills for residential customers averaged $145.36. Once all the approved and proposed increases are in effect, monthly power bills could jump to $158.21.

That would be an 8.7 percent increase from the end of July, or $12.65 a month — if PG&E gets everything it requests, combined with what it has been awarded by a recent state regulatory decision.

“We have requested these funds to invest in advanced technology and infrastructure so we can better provide our customers with safe and reliable energy and support California’s clean energy goals while keeping bills as low as possible,” said Donald Cutler, a PG&E spokesman.

The multiple increases that confront customers could become a brutal burden, warned The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group.

“At some point the piggy bank will be empty, and the ATM will have insufficient funds,” said Mark Toney, executive director with TURN. “There is a limit to what people can take.”

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