A General Rate Case (GRC) is a state-mandated process that investor-owned electric and gas companies go through to request funding for distribution and generation costs. In California, regulated utilities like PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric are typically required to file a new rate case every three years with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
The utility is required to provide a detailed forecast of how they will structure their operations and make investments for the upcoming three-year period. The CPUC reviews the information, with input from commission staff, customers, business groups, cities and agencies, and other interested parties before making a decision.
On December 13, 2018, PG&E submitted its GRC request to the CPUC. This filing reflects the company’s commitment to address the growing threat of wildfires, PG&E is proposing a series of important additional safety investments as part of its 2020 General Rate Case (GRC) to help further protect the 16 million people it serves.
The GRC presents the company's plan for investments and upgrades to the technology and infrastructure supporting PG&E's energy distribution and generation facilities in 2020 through 2022. After PG&E submits the plan to the CPUC, the CPUC will review and analyze it. During this review process, the CPUC and interested parties can ask for more information from PG&E. The parties are then invited to provide their own testimony and to cross-examine PG&E's witnesses during hearings before an administrative law judge. Through this process, the CPUC determines what revenues are necessary to maintain and upgrade the electric and gas systems. The CPUC's decision forms the basis for PG&E customer rates.
The CPUC will hold public participation hearings in July and August of 2019, where the public will be invited to provide comments on the GRC. Starting on or around September 23, the CPUC will hold evidentiary hearings in which witnesses from PG&E and other parties will be called to testify before an administrative law judge regarding the case.
This GRC will revise PG&E's rates for 2020 through 2022. The new rates will go into effect only after a final decision on the GRC is issued by the CPUC. The current schedule set forth by the CPUC estimates a proposed decision by the first quarter of 2020.
The work outlined in this rate case reflects what we believe it will take to continue to make improvements to support the provision of safe and reliable energy to our more than 6.4 million customers and their families and support the incredibly diverse and growing economy represented in our nearly 70,000 square-mile service area. If approved, this request (at the time of initial filing) will increase PG&E's revenue requirement by approximately $1.1 billion in 2020, $454 million in 2021 and $486 million in 2021 for gas and electric service.
Many customers receive bundled electric service from PG&E, meaning they receive electric generation, transmission and distribution services. Based on rates in effect when the application was filed, the electric bill for a typical residential bundled non-California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (non-CARE) customer using 500 kWh per month would increase from $113.64 to $122.37, or 7.7%. This amount is based on the year 2020, which is the year of the highest impact. Actual impacts will vary depending on energy usage. Detailed rate information was provided in a bill inset sent directly to customers.
Direct Access and Community Choice Aggregation customers only receive electric transmission and distribution services from PG&E. On average, these customers will see an increase of 7.5%.
Departing Load customers do not receive electric generation, transmission or distribution services from PG&E. However, they are required by law or CPUC decision to pay certain charges. On average, these customers will see an increase of 3%.
Based on rates in effect when the application was filed, the gas bill for a typical residential non-CARE customer averaging 34 therms per month of gas usage would increase from $52.30 to $54.13, or 3.5%. This amount is based on the year 2020, which is the year of the highest impact. Actual impacts will vary depending on energy usage. Detailed rate information was provided in a bill inset sent directly to customers.
The GRC revenue requirement is for investments and upgrades to the technology and infrastructure supporting PG&E's energy distribution and generation facilities in 2020 through 2022. This GRC includes safety investments and infrastructure upgrades to continue to increase wildfire prevention and electric reliability. These wildfire programs include: