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PG&E General Rate Case Will Fund Various Ways to Manage Energy Usage

Nov. 28, 2023
In congruence with California's Bold Clean Energy goals, PG&E's general rate case, changing the energy rates, provides funding for permanent solutions to energy management.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) energy rates will change on January 1, 2024, to pay for continued critical safety investments for its customers and hometowns. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)  approved PG&E's 2023-2026 General Rate Case (GRC). More than 85% of PG&E's proposed increase, originally submitted in June 2021, was to reduce risk in PG&E's gas and electric operations.

As part of the GRC, the CPUC approved placing 1,230 miles of powerlines underground in PG&E's highest fire-risk areas. Undergrounding is permanent risk reduction that eliminates nearly 98% of risk of wildfire ignition from electrical equipment, increases electric reliability by reducing the need for safety-related power shutoffs, and saves customers billions of dollars in reduced annual tree trimming and overhead line maintenance costs.

"We appreciate the Commission for recognizing the important safety and reliability investments we are making on behalf of our customers, including undergrounding powerlines to permanently reduce wildfire risk," said PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe.

The GRC funds these key safety and reliability investments for the benefit of customers:

  • Undergrounding 1,230 miles of powerlines in PG&E's highest fire-risk areas. Undergrounding benefits all customers through improved air and water quality from fewer fires, protecting wildlands, and improving access to homeowners' insurance at lower premiums, over the long run. It is one of PG&E's multiple layers of protection that have reduced wildfire risk from company equipment by 94%.
  • Replacing 139 miles and 24 miles of plastic and steel distribution pipeline respectively; inspecting 343 miles of transmission pipeline with state-of-the-art tools that run inside the pipeline; strength-testing 43 miles of gas transmission pipeline to assess integrity and reconfirm the maximum allowable operating pressure; employing advanced mobile leak detection technology to quickly find and fix gas leaks to improve safety and reduce methane emissions.
  • Increasing electric capacity to support the state's transportation electrification, affordable housing and economic development goals. Additional electric system investments include grid work to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles to reduce climate change impacts and improve air quality; exploring technologies to use electric vehicles and other energy storage; and microgrid advancements to help improve grid resiliency during extreme weather and peak-energy demand periods.

Customer Bill Impacts

Customer bills may vary based on where they live, energy usage, rate plan, program enrollment, weather in their region, and other factors.

The GRC will increase typical residential non-CARE monthly combined gas and electric bills by an average of 3.6% over three years. It will increase monthly bills by approximately 12.8% in 2024, and have a net decrease in the following years, 2025 and 2026. For example, the typical bill will increase by approximately $32.50 in 2024, $4.50 in 2025, and decrease by almost $8.00 in 2026.

For the typical residential CARE customer, the monthly combined bill would increase by an average of 3.8% over three years. Typical bills will increase by about $21.50 in 2024, $3 in 2025, and decrease by about $5.50 in 2026.

In addition to the GRC, PG&E will implement additional rate changes as part of an annual process called the "true-up" which consolidates rate changes authorized by the CPUC. These amounts will be final at the end of December.

Rates take effect January 1, 2024, however, customers may not see the change in their bill until February depending on their billing cycle.

About the Author

T&D World Staff

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