PG&E Seeks Approval to Lower Electric Rates for Customers Utility Taking Steps to Provide Relief for Customers in Difficult Economic Times
Release Date: February 26, 2010
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is asking the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve proposals that would reduce average electric rates by 2.5 percent from March 1 levels, beginning June 1. The proposals are among a number of measures PG&E is taking to help customers with their electricity costs.
“We understand that electricity is a fundamental need, and know that many of our customers are deeply affected by job losses and the economic downturn,” said Helen Burt, senior vice president and chief customer officer at PG&E. “While our customers work hard to conserve energy and pay their bills, at PG&E we are also working hard to help customers save.”
In order to reduce rates, PG&E proposes to accelerate refunds to customers for lower transmission and generation-related costs. PG&E also seeks permission to temporarily reduce the surplus collection of fees charged by the state to fund the California Solar Initiative.
The rate reduction would provide relief to Californians in time for the summer, when millions of customers use more electricity to stay healthy and comfortable during hotter weather. The effect on customers’ bills would vary by how much electricity they use and whether they are residential or business customers (see charts for residential impact).
The June reduction would more than offset a previously approved rate increase taking effect on March 1, which will cover the costs of reliably operating and maintaining the utility’s high-voltage electric transmission system.
In addition, PG&E is requesting a change to bring more equity to its residential rates for higher-usage customers beginning June 1. If approved, the change should help mitigate high bills driven by customer cooling needs during summer heat waves. This change would not affect lower-usage customers or lower-income customers who are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. This action will also help bring PG&E’s residential rates more in line with those of other large California utilities.
Additional Support for Customers
PG&E offers many ways to help customers save on energy, including a robust suite of energy efficiency programs, online tools to analyze energy use and rebates for energy-efficient products. PG&E also offers several assistance programs to help customers get one-time help to pay bills, balance their payments out over the course of a year or establish a payment plan to catch up on late bills. Customers should call 1-800-PGE-5000 as soon as they think they may have trouble paying their bills.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/.