March 2014 Bill Inserts

Each month, PG&E offers important information on rebates, saving energy and safety in printed inserts that accompany your bill. Now, access this information online whenever you wish.

Everyday Safety Tip: Call 811 before you dig, even in your own yard

Whether you’re planting a garden, building a fence or remodeling your home no project is too small to call. Always call 811 at least two working days before starting any project that involves digging to have underground utility lines located and marked for free.

PG&E operates, monitors and maintains natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines across California. Our larger transmission pipelines carry gas from one part of the state to another and connect to our distribution system. These smaller distribution lines deliver natural gas to your homes and businesses.

Your safety is our top priority. PG&E is committed to becoming the safest, most reliable gas system in the nation. We have implemented a number of programs and standards to modernize and improve the safety of our gas system. But we can’t do it alone. You play a critical role in natural gas safety. Learn ways you can make gas safety a priority every day.

Do You Know How to Locate a Natural Gas Pipeline Near You?
You can find PG&E’s larger transmission pipelines near you by locating pipeline markers. Markers include an emergency number and indicate the need for extra care. 

Safetymaker 

These markers specify the approximate location, but not all pipelines follow a straight path between markers.

Our online map shows all of our transmission pipelines. You can view any location in our service area—your home, place of work or any other areas of interest—to see if transmission pipelines run nearby. Also, the National Pipeline Mapping System, shows the location of all transmission pipelines in the United States, viewable by county, zip code or street address.

If you or your contractor accidently digs into a gas pipeline, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish any fire. Leave the area immediately and move to a safe location. Then call 911 to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Can You Spot a Gas Leak?
PG&E regularly inspects all of our pipelines to check for possible leaks or other signs of damage. As an additional safety precaution, we also add a sulfur-like odor to natural gas.

Smell: If you smell this distinctive "rotten egg" odor, move to a safe location and immediately call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. But don’t rely on your nose alone.

Sound: Always pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.

Sight: Other signs include dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek or in soil after a rainfall, and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.

What Do You Do If There’s a Gas Leak?
You can help prevent a natural gas pipeline fire. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately and move upwind to a safe place.

Then call 911 to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Warn others nearby to stay away from the area. Do not operate any device until you are a safe distance away; especially ones that might create a spark such as cell phones, matches, electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions and garage door openers.

How Can You Prevent Pipeline Damage?
Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

Even if you are planting a new bush or digging a fence post in your own yard, you must always call 811 Underground Service Alert (USA) at least two working days before you dig. This free program notifies local utility companies to mark the location of underground lines so you can safely dig and prevent damage (usanorth811.com). (pls make the url in the parens live) Once the underground lines are marked, remember to dig with care using appropriate hand-digging tools near the pipeline. For your safety, use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of our pipelines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until you’ve finished digging.

Safety is PG&E’s Highest Responsibility
We maintain a comprehensive safety and monitoring program to ensure the safety of our natural gas system. We monitor our gas pipeline operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and conduct regular inspections and surveys of our pipelines. This is one of many programs we undertake as part of our commitment to provide safe and reliable natural gas service for our customers.

To learn more about our comprehensive safety and monitoring program.

Watch a video with tips for how to safely dig near underground pipelines.

For more information about gas pipeline safety, contact us at the numbers below:
For assistance in English please call 1-888-743-7431.
Para ayuda en español, por favor llame al 1-800-660-6789.
要用粵語/國語請求協助,請致電 1-800-893-9555.
Third Party

Our Third Party Notification service allows you to name a friend or relative to receive duplicate copies of past due payment notices. The designated person is not responsible for paying the bill but can contact Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to help resolve the issue.

For more information or call 1-800-743-5000.
Medical Baseline

Get more baseline energy at the lowest price for qualified PG&E residential customers. To qualify for Medical Baseline, a California-licensed physician must certify that you or a full-time resident in your home is:

  • Dependent on life-support equipment while at home.
  • A paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic or multiple sclerosis patient with special heating and/or cooling needs.
  • A scleroderma patient with special heating needs.
  • A person being treated for a life-threatening illness or compromised immune system with special heating and/or cooling requirements to sustain the patient’s life or prevent deterioration of the patient’s medical condition.
For details or to apply or call 1-800-743-5000.
Crossbore

Gas lines can intersect with your sewer line
New service lines, like gas, electric and cable TV, are usually installed by drilling holes horizontally beneath the ground. This helps minimize sidewalk and landscaping damage. Issues can occur when the new pipe or cable accidentally drills through another underground pipe or cable—this is called a cross bore. This is an industry-wide issue for all underground utility providers.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) installs our smaller natural gas lines with underground drilling. We participate in the Underground Service Alert to help prevent digging into other service lines. This free program notifies local utility companies to mark the location of underground lines so you can safely dig and prevent damage (visit usanorth811.com). Some utilities, such as sewer or storm water systems, are not required by law to mark their lines and can go unmarked.

Why this is a safety concern
In rare cases, our gas lines may intersect through a customer’s sewer line. The gas line can obstruct the flow and may eventually lead to a blockage or backup. A natural gas leak can occur if a plumber damages a gas line cross bore while cleaning a sewer line.

For sewer and natural gas safety.

Preventing, identifying and repairing cross bores
PG&E has a dedicated program to proactively identify and repair cross bores through wastewater system inspections. We also use video cameras to inspect some of our newly installed gas lines. If we identify a natural gas cross bore, PG&E will cover the cost of any associated sewer line repairs. This is part of PG&E’s continued commitment towards providing safe and reliable gas service.

Do you have a sewer blockage or backup?
A clogged sewer line may be the result of a cross bore with a gas line: so for your safety, take precautions before any sewer cleaning. Talk to your plumber or contractor and encourage them to:
  • Review the online information.
  • Use a camera to assess the cause of the blockage.
  • Clear without a cutting tool when working on both sewer lines and drains by using a plumbing snake or water jet.
  • Call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 if they have any questions or concerns.

Did you discover a gas line intersecting your sewer line?
Stop all work immediately and call 1-800-743-5000 to alert the PG&E representative that you have identified a cross bore. We will safely remove the gas line and make any necessary repairs.

If you or your contractor accidentally damage a gas line, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish any fire. Leave the area immediately and move to a safe location. Then call 911 to notify local authorities and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Do you know the signs of a gas leak?
We monitor our gas pipeline operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from our control center and we add a sulfur-like odorant to help detect leaks.

SMELL: A rotten egg smell.
SOUND: A hissing, whistling or roaring sound.
SIGHT: Dirt blowing into the air or continual bubbling in water (such as in your toilet bowl).

If you suspect a gas leak, immediately warn others and leave the area. Do not use a flame or any electrical device, as a spark could ignite the gas. Once you are in a safe location, immediately call 911 and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
On February 28, 2014, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requesting to increase its electric rates effective January 1, 2015. The application requests approval to recover in rates costs associated with:
  1. The California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) Market Design Initiative
  2. Studies performed at Diablo Canyon Power Plant
  3. Consultant fees incurred by the CPUC in support of the Renewables Portfolio Standard

PG&E was directed by the CPUC to include the review of costs in PG&E’s annual Energy Resource Recovery Account (ERRA) compliance proceeding.

Background
The CAISO Market Design Initiative was launched in 2009 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to change how electricity is bought and sold in California. The costs requested in PG&E’s application represent costs incurred by PG&E that were associated with implementing the CAISO Market Design Initiative in 2013.

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant studies were conducted in response to the California Energy Commission’s recommendations. The CPUC previously approved PG&E’s initial seismic study costs in CPUC Decisions D.10-08-003 and D.12-09-008. The costs requested in this application represent seismic study costs that were incurred by PG&E in 2013.

The CPUC reviews and approves invoices it receives from independent consultants it has hired to support the CPUC’s implementation and administration of the Renewables Portfolio Standard. PG&E pays its portion of these costs once the invoices are reviewed and approved by the CPUC. The costs of these independent consultants are included in this application, as authorized in Decision 06-10-050.

PG&E’s application requests $7.941 million to be collected in rates from bundled service customers: that is, those customers who receive electric generation as well as transmission and distribution service from PG&E. Rates for customers who purchase electricity from other suppliers (such as direct access and community choice aggregation) and rates for departing load customers will not be affected by these specific costs.

How will PG&E’s application affect me?
If this application is approved, electric rates will increase by less than one percent for bundled service customers effective January 1, 2015. Based on the rates in effect on January 1, 2014, a typical bundled service customer using 550 kWh per month would see an average bill increase of $0.04 (or 0.04 percent), from $93.98 to $94.02. Actual bill impacts will vary depending on your electric usage.

How do I find out more about PG&E’s application?
If you have questions about PG&E’s application, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. For TDD/TTY (speech-hearing impaired), call 1-800-652-4712.

If you would like a copy of PG&E’s application and exhibits, please write to PG&E at the address below.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
2013 ERRA Compliance Review Application
P.O. Box 7442
San Francisco, CA 94120

A copy of PG&E’s application and exhibits are also available for review at the CPUC, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon. PG&E’s application (without exhibits) is available on the CPUC’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc.

How does the CPUC’s decision-making process work?
The application will be reviewed through the CPUC’s formal process. The application will be assigned to a CPUC Administrative Law Judge (Judge). The Judge presides over the proceeding, which may include evidentiary hearings to give parties an opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Members of the public may attend but not participate in these hearings unless they are parties to the case. The hearings and documents submitted in the proceeding become part of the formal record that the Judge relies upon in writing a proposed decision to present to the five-member Commission for its consideration.

Any CPUC Commissioner may issue an alternate decision. The proposed and any alternate decisions are voted upon by the Commissioners at a CPUC meeting. The CPUC may adopt all or part of PG&E’s request, modify it or deny the application.

If you would like to follow this proceeding or any other issue before the CPUC, you may use the CPUC’s free subscription service. Sign up at: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in this proceeding, or if you have comments or questions, you may access the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc and click on “Public Advisor” from the CPUC Information menu. You may also:

Email:
public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Mail:

Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103
San Francisco, CA 94102

Call:
(415) 703-2074 or 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free)
TTY (415) 703-5282 or 1-866-836-7825 (toll-free)

If you are writing or emailing the Public Advisor’s Office, please include the application number (A.14-02-008). All informal comments will be available to the Commissioners, the assigned Judge and the CPUC staff. All informal comments are also provided to the CPUC’s Formal File office as a part of the file for this proceeding.
Summary
On February 28, 2014, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to change residential rates starting in 2015. As a result, some customers will see increases in their monthly bills while others will see decreases. This proposal will not change the amount of total revenues collected by PG&E, which is determined in other proceedings.

About this Proposal
PG&E’s proposal would simplify its residential electric rate structure over several years, from 2015 through 2018. PG&E’s requested changes comply with a new state law, AB 327, and a ruling from the CPUC that directs utilities to propose reforms to simplify California’s residential electricity rate structure and better align rates with the actual costs of providing electric service.

Tiered Rate Proposal
For the residential standard and time-of-use electric rate plans, PG&E proposes to:
  1. Reduce the number of electric pricing tiers from the current four tiers to three tiers in 2015 and two tiers by 2018.
  2. Adjust usage allowance levels in each tier.
  3. Replace the current minimum charge of $4.50 with a monthly service fee to help cover fixed costs, starting at $5 per month in 2015, followed by an increase to $10 per month in 2016. After that, the fee would be adjusted each year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all residential customers except for those on the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.
  4. Introduce a new optional, simplified, non-tiered time-of-use rate plan in which the price of electricity varies by the time of day, beginning January 2015.

The chart below shows the change in the residential tiered rate structure
ResRateReform

CARE Proposal
PG&E is also proposing changes to the CARE program consistent with the new state law. Similar to the proposal for non-CARE rate plans, PG&E proposes to:
  1. Reduce the number of electric pricing tiers from three tiers in 2015 to two by 2018.
  2. Gradually lower the CARE discount in order to reach the required 30–35 percent discount range in 2018.
  3. Replace the current minimum charge of $3.60 with a monthly service fee for CARE customers to help cover fixed costs, starting at $2.50 per month in 2015, followed by an increase to $5 per month in 2016. After that, it would increase each year in line with the CPI.
  4. Introduce a new optional, simplified, non-tiered time-of-use rate plan in which the price of electricity varies by the time of day, beginning January 2015.

How will PG&E’s proposals affect me?
If PG&E’s proposal is adopted, residential customers would see bill increases or decreases depending on their monthly usage levels and their rate plan. These proposed rate changes would also affect PG&E’s medical baseline and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs.

Most customers receive bundled electric service from PG&E, meaning that PG&E provides electric generation as well as transmission and distribution service. The table below illustrates the proposed 2015 monthly bill impacts for bundled residential customers.
ResRateTable

Rate and bill impacts for residential DA/CCA customers
Direct Access (DA) and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) customers only receive electric transmission and distribution service from PG&E. DA/CCA customers are charged the same electric distribution and Public Purpose Program (PPP) rate as bundled service customers. As a result of reducing the CARE discount, the CARE surcharge portion of the PPP rate is expected to decrease.

Another category of non-bundled customers are Departing Load customers. These customers do not receive electric generation, transmission or distribution services from PG&E for their departing load. However, like Direct Access, Community Choice Aggregation and bundled service customers, they are required to pay certain procurement-related charges such as the PPP rate. As a result of reducing the CARE discount, the CARE surcharge portion of the PPP is expected to decrease.

How do I find out more about PG&E’s proposal?
If you have questions about PG&E’s supplemental filing, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. For TDD/TTY (speech-hearing impaired), call 1-800-652-4712.

If you would like a copy of PG&E’s supplemental filing and exhibits, please write to PG&E at the address below.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Residential Rate Reform, (R.12-06-013, Phase 1)
P.O. Box 7442
San Francisco, CA 94120

A copy of PG&E’s supplemental filing and exhibits are also available for review at the CPUC, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon. PG&E’s supplemental filing (without exhibits) is available on the CPUC’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc.

How does the CPUC’s decision-making process work?
The supplemental filing will be reviewed through the CPUC’s formal administrative law process. The filed proposals are assigned to a CPUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ presides over the proceeding, which may include hearings to give parties of record an opportunity to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Members of the public may attend but not participate in these hearings unless they are parties to the case. The hearings and documents submitted in the proceeding become part of the formal record that the ALJ relies upon in writing a proposed decision to present to the five-member Commission.

Any CPUC Commissioner may issue an alternate decision. The proposed and any alternate decisions are acted upon at a CPUC voting meeting. When the CPUC acts on this supplemental filing, it may adopt all or part of PG&E’s request, modify it or deny the request.

If you would like to follow this proceeding or any other issue before the CPUC, you may use the CPUC’s free subscription service. Sign up at: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in this proceeding, or if you have comments or questions, you may access the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc and click on “Public Advisor” from the CPUC information menu. You may also:

Email:
public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Mail:

Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103
San Francisco, CA 94102

Call:
(415) 703-2074 or 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free)
TTY (415) 703-5282 or 1-866-836-7825 (toll-free)

If you are writing or emailing the Public Advisor’s Office, please include the proceeding number (R.12-06-013, Phase 1). All comments will be circulated to the Commissioners, the assigned ALJ and the CPUC staff.
  • Outage Map
  • PG&E's SmartMeter Program
  • California Solar Initiative
 
twitterfacebookyoutubeCurrents