By Jeremy Pearl
In California, utility customers know a thing or two about PG&E rate increases.
It should come as no surprise, then, that PG&E customers could face another round of price hikes this year.
In April, PG&E sought state approval to increase its rates to float expenses related to its facilities, operations, and estimated capital costs.
While this is unwelcome news, you don’t have to face it alone.
In this blog, we’ll discuss everything we know about the new PG&E rate increase and what you can expect in the coming year.
Let’s dive in.
PG&E is California’s largest natural gas and electricity provider, and it’s no stranger to raising its prices.
Because PG&E’s electricity prices reflect the cost of natural gas, which has increased dramatically over the past few years, the utility giant has continued to raise its prices to keep up with the supply cost.
While that problem isn’t unique to California, customers in the Golden State have felt the pinch especially acutely since utility bills were high in the first place.
It’s not just supply and demand impacting PG&E’s rates, though. The company is also being held financially responsible for the wildfires its equipment has caused in recent years.
While part of the revenue generated from PG&E’s rate increases will go toward efforts to prevent future wildfires, advocates predict that customers shoulder the financial burden of the settlements, as well.
If you’re asking, “why is my PG&E bill so high in 2022?” you’re not alone.
Some PG&E customers have seen their bills double or even triple in recent months. This year in 2022, PG&E has increased prices by roughly 21% for Tier 1 customers and 17% for Tier 2 customers compared to 2021.
Here’s a stark example: one Elk Grove customer paid $36 for heat in October. By January, her bill had increased to $350.
For most Californians, skyrocketing energy prices mean one thing: less financial security for their families, especially with a recession looming on the horizon.
In recent years, the average household’s PG&E bill has increased to $384 annually.
The utility is already asking for rate increases that could amount to another $377 per household annually by 2023.
PG&E’s customers currently pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country.
In fact, PG&E’s rates have increased faster than inflation for the past decade. Residential rates went up 31% between 2009 and 2019, compared to the consumer price index of just 19%.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
At the start of 2019, the company increased residential electricity rates by 8% and boosted gas rates by 11%.
That move alone created an average monthly bill increase of about $19 for customers.
But PG&E didn’t stop there.
In January of 2022, electricity rates went up 8%. In March of this year, there was another rate hike of 8.9% – translating to a bill increase of nearly $14 per month. PG&E’s gas rates, meanwhile, went up 11% in January alone.
And that’s not the end of it:
The utility has asked for annual rate increases of 3%-4% each year from 2024-2026.
As any customer can easily see, the last few years have just been the beginning of many rate hikes to come.
Can’t bear the thought of paying even higher PG&E rates? Follow these tips to lower your bill:
In addition to the tactics listed above, PG&E makes several cost-saving programs available to California customers. These include the following:
Don’t suffer through yet another PG&E rate increase. Go solar and quit PG&E for good!
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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.
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