CPUC-approved rate changes take effect Jan. 1, 2024
CALIFORNIA — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) energy rates will change on Jan. 1, 2024, to pay for continued critical safety investments for its customers and hometowns. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) earlier this month approved PG&E’s 2023-2026 General Rate Case (GRC). More than 85 percent of PG&E’s proposed increase, originally submitted in June 2021, was to reduce risk in PG&E’s gas and electric operations.
As part of the GRC, the CPUC approved placing 1,230 miles of powerlines underground in PG&E’s highest fire-risk areas. Undergrounding is permanent risk reduction that eliminates nearly 98 percent of risk of wildfire ignition from electrical equipment, increases electric reliability by reducing the need for safety-related power shutoffs, and saves customers billions of dollars in reduced annual tree trimming and overhead line maintenance costs.
“We are committed to being the safe operator that the people of California expect and deserve,” said PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe. “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. Undergrounding is the best tool in the highest fire-risk areas to protect our customers and hometowns and improve reliability year-round at the lowest cost to our customers.”
The GRC funds these key safety and reliability investments for the benefit of customers:
- Undergrounding 1,230 miles of powerlines in PG&E’s highest fire-risk areas. In addition to being the safest, most reliable, and cost-effective solution, undergrounding benefits all customers through improved air and water quality from fewer fires, protecting wildlands, and improving access to homeowners’ insurance at lower premiums over the long run. It is one of PG&E’s multiple layers of protection that have reduced wildfire risk from company equipment by 94 percent
- Replacing 139 miles and 24 miles of plastic and steel distribution pipeline, respectively; inspecting 343 miles of transmission pipeline with state-of-the-art tools that run inside the pipeline; strength-testing 43 miles of gas transmission pipeline to assess integrity and reconfirm the maximum allowable operating pressure; employing advanced mobile leak detection technology to quickly find and fix gas leaks to improve safety and reduce methane emissions.
- Increasing electric capacity to support the state’s transportation electrification, affordable housing and economic development goals. Additional electric system investments include grid work to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles to reduce climate change impacts and improve air quality; exploring technologies to use electric vehicles and other energy storage; and microgrid advancements to help improve grid resiliency during extreme weather and peak-energy demand periods.
Ways PG&E helps customers manage energy use and costs
PG&E offers no- and low-cost actions to help customers reduce energy use and better manage monthly energy bills, and financial assistance programs for income-eligible customers.
- Check your rate plan — get a personalized Rate Plan Comparison to find the best rate plan for your personal energy use.
- Take a free Home Energy Checkup to identify wasted energy sources and get a personalized savings plan to lower monthly bills in just five minutes.
- Enroll in Budget Billing to spread out annual energy costs throughout the year to avoid peaks in months of higher use.
- Receive Bill Forecast Alerts when your bill is projected to exceed an amount set by you so you can reduce energy use prior to your next bill.
Customers may qualify for bill assistance including:
- California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) provides a monthly discount of 20 percent or more on gas and electricity.
- Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) provides a monthly discount of 18 percent on electricity only. Must be a household of three or more people.
- Arrearage Management Program is a debt forgiveness plan for eligible residential customers who may have experienced pandemic-related hardship.
Customer bill impacts
Customer bills may vary based on where they live, energy usage, rate plan, program enrollment, weather in their region, and other factors.
The GRC will increase typical residential non-CARE monthly combined gas and electric bills by an average of 3.6 percent over three years. It will increase monthly bills by approximately 12.8 percent in 2024, and have a net decrease in the following years, 2025 and 2026. For example, the typical bill will increase by approximately $32.50 in 2024, $4.50 in 2025, and decrease by almost $8.00 in 2026.
For the typical residential CARE customer, the monthly combined bill would increase by an average of 3.8 percent over three years. Typical bills will increase by about $21.50 in 2024, $3 in 2025, and decrease by about $5.50 in 2026.
In addition to the GRC, PG&E will implement additional rate changes as part of an annual process called the “true-up” which consolidates rate changes authorized by the CPUC. These amounts will be final at the end of December.
Rates take effect Jan. 1, 2024; however, customers may not see the change in their bill until February depending on their billing cycle.