PG&E's Proposed Fee Plan Could Increase Your Bill in the Near Future: Here's What to Do

PG&E’s Proposed Fee Plan Could Increase Your Bill in the Near Future: Here’s What to Do

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by Jeremy Pearl
May 03

Most people who live, work, and pay utility bills in California know that PG&E has been raising its rates steadily for years.

Unfortunately, the utility giant shows no signs of slowing down soon.

In fact, PG&E rates have increased nearly 50% in the last five years and a whopping 20% in the last 1-2 years. Recently, the utility introduced a campaign to establish “monthly base charges” of $24/month for all customers (solar and non-solar).

While the utility is trying to position this as a great deal for California customers, it could actually raise energy rates for many households.

Here’s what you need to know.

What PG&E is Doing

The California Assembly Bill 205 (also known as AB 205) has prompted utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), to reconsider their billing structure for gas and electric services.

This legislation mandates utility commissions to overhaul the traditional system, which determined rates based on energy consumption, to a new model that sets rates based on customer income.

With this change, PG&E proposes isolating infrastructure expenses as a fixed fee to make the costs transparent and predictable for customers. This shift is also part of PG&E’s broader strategy to adapt to evolving energy needs and support the state’s environmental goals.

Here’s why PG&E says this change is necessary:

  • The utility has argued that this will help cut the price of electricity for Californians.
  • PG&E asserts that this change is necessary to ensure a fairer and more equitable billing system.
  • They argue that redistributing the costs in accordance with customer income will reduce the financial burden on lower-income households.

Despite the utility’s arguments for this system, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

In fact, the proposal has the potential to make energy more expensive for many customers – especially those who utilize solar energy.

How it Will Affect Customers

Implementing AB 205 will significantly alter how approximately 11 million PG&E customers are billed.

The new structure introduces three tiers of monthly fees based on the customer’s income:

  • Customers earning below 200% of the federal Poverty Guidelines will face a reduced fee of $6 per month.
  • Those with incomes between 200%-250% of the Poverty Guidelines or residing in affordable housing (capped at 80% of the area’s median income) will be billed $12 monthly.
  • All other customers will be subject to a $24.15 monthly charge.
  • While this proposed fee outrages many PG&E customers, it’s actually lower than what PG&E initially wanted – they’ve previously pitched a fixed $51 monthly charge.

As we noted, the change will also impact homes with solar panels. Specifically, these households are likely to incur higher charges due to restrictions on net metering, which allows for the sale of excess electricity back to the grid.

This part of the proposal aims to balance the financial implications of transitioning to renewable energy sources while ensuring the sustainability of the utility’s infrastructure.

What You Can Do

If you don’t want to see the fixed fee land on your bill, you need to act fast.

The Utilities Commission could approve the proposal as soon as May 9, 2024, and it would go into effect in 2025 or 2026.

If you’d like to voice your opposition to these fees, we advise writing letters to CPUC, the governor’s office, and your local politicians.

Speaking out now is critical. If this proposition passes, it will directly and negatively impact solar customers’ savings.

Get Off the PG&E Roller Coaster – Go Solar This Year!

PG&E will undoubtedly continue to raise its fees in the coming years, which is bad news for customers.

7% per year average rate increase

Fortunately, you can take charge of your energy by installing solar panels and battery backup on your home, and Sandbar Solar is here to help.

For years, Sandbar Solar & Electric has stood out as an advocate for homeowners on the Central Coast and a proponent of independent energy.

Ready to learn more about how our team can help you claim your energy independence?

Contact us today.

About the Author

Jeremy has worked in the solar industry since 2006. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. Jeremy has spent most of his solar career in residential sales and Sales Management in both California and Hawaii. He was raised in Santa Cruz County and is passionate about helping local residents make the switch to clean and reliable renewable energy. Jeremy lives on the Westside with his wife and two boys and enjoys music, photography and hiking in his personal time.