Here’s a shocking news bulletin – PG&E is raising their rates AGAIN. If you think about the rate increase that began with the new year, you are behind by a few months. PG&E did announce a rate increase for their millions of residential residents in California that would go into effect in January 2022. However, the mammoth utility company was recently approved to raise their rates for a second time this year – another 9% increase for residential customers and up to 12.7% for businesses.
Does PG&E have a logical reason behind this extra rate increase? Of course! The company wouldn’t make a perfect villain if the corporate professionals didn’t know how to “spin a good yarn.” The current “spin” is blaming the rising cost of natural gas. Everything is more expensive than even a year ago, and now, PG&E is paying more for natural gas. There’s no sense in the company taking a financial hit when all it has to do is raise rates.
PG&E’s added reasoning to the Public Utilities Commission is that the increase will only cost their residential customers an extra $15 each month. It doesn’t seem like a big deal. That’s the cost of one fancy coffee shop transaction or a fast food meal. It’s just $15 from their 4.8 million residential customers, and the $15 these households are already paying for the January rate increase. So now, it’s just $30 per month.
Is PG&E being dubbed a villain just for raising rates? Yes and no. Utility rate increases and themselves are almost a part of life. In short, they happen. But with PG&E, they happen a lot.
Additionally, since they are the largest utility company in California, most customers don’t have another option – it’s either pay the piper or go without electricity and natural gas. A recent report showed a timeline of PG&E rate changes: 31% from 2009 to 2019, more than the national average of 19%. That report doesn’t include the 12% increase approved for 2020 or the 5% increase in 2021.
The initial rate increase of 2022 was to update all the equipment and power lines to combat the wildfires that seemed to happen almost every summer. It’s a very sound reason to increase rates just a little more. However, this is the same company responsible for tragic wildfires in 2018 and 2019 that killed 120 people because of their outdated equipment. So now, PG&E is making the customers pay for them to do something they should have been doing all along?
Back to the most recent rate increase – residential customers are certainly unhappy to know that their electric bill will go up just a little more after it’s already increased just a little more. $15 does not sound like much money, but it adds up. Those monthly jumps total almost $400 a year if the amount of electricity a household uses does not increase. What if you are now charging an electric vehicle? Your usage and monthly bill will be outrageous!
So far, PG&E has increased its residential rates by at least 18%, and 2022 has barely begun. What happens if inflation continues to rise and natural gas prices go up again? Will the utility giant be back for another pound of flesh?
Do California residents have another option when it comes to electricity?
It’s called solar energy, and it’s not such a fairy tale/too pricey notion anymore. California is known as the Sunshine State for a reason – there’s a lot of sunshine, which means plenty of renewable energy for any home with solar panels. Especially now, it’s a great time to find out just how easy it can be to switch to solar energy.