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Senator Alvarado Gil Criticizes PG&E Proposed Rate Hikes

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Sacramento, CA — Ahead of a California Public Utilities Commission meeting today, the California Senator who represents the Mother Lode is voicing concerns about proposed rate hikes.

The California Public Utilities Commission will review proposals related to how much PG&E will be allowed to raise rates, effective January 1st.

The utility initially proposed a hike of as much as 26% in an effort to fund various infrastructure improvements, including placing lines underground in many fire-prone areas.

The CPUC has called for a reduced rate hike, likely somewhere between 10-15%.

California District Four Senator, Marie Alvarado Gil, a Democrat, has sent a letter to the commission. It states, “Many PG&E customers who will be hit with higher bills live in rural areas and cannot sustain additional fees. Rate increases will disproportionately impact rural Californians – like the ones in my district. My constituents already have to deal with the realities of wildfires, public safety power shutoffs, and disproportionate impacts from inflation. In any given week across my district, my constituents experience upwards of a dozen power outages due to PG&E’s faulty equipment and poorly managed safety systems.”

The letter also states that PG&E executives “enjoy the highest compensation in the nation” but the utility has a “poor track record” over the past several decades.

The letter concludes, “I urge you (CPUC) to use your influence and voice to advocate for the interests of our constituents during this upcoming hearing and hold PG&E accountable for its actions, while demanding a comprehensive plan for improvement on their part before any rate increase is even discussed.”

The CPUC meeting starts at 11 am today.

The full letter is below:

Subject: Opposition to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Test Year 2023 General Rate Case

Dear President Reynolds,

I write in strong opposition to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Test Year 2023 General Rate Case (GRC), which will be acted upon at your November 16, 2023 hearing. As part of the Commission’s GRC approval process, PG&E will soon be authorized to increase rates on customers as part of the revenue requirement. Californians are already overwhelmed with the ever-increasing cost of living all around them. Approving an increase in utility rates, at this time in particular, is imprudent if we truly wish to put customer ratepayers first.

Many PG&E customers who will be hit with higher bills live in rural areas and cannot sustain additional fees. Rate increases will disproportionately impact rural Californians – like the ones in my district. My constituents already have to deal with the realities of wildfires, public safety power shutoffs, and disproportionate impacts from inflation. In any given week across my district, my constituents experience upwards of a dozen power outages due to PG&E’s faulty equipment and poorly managed safety systems. For example, 1,300 of my constituents in the southern part of El Dorado County experienced eleven outages in a two-week period between the end of October and first week of November 2023. During the first weekend of July, over 5,600 of my constituents in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties experienced 13 outages over a three-day period during record-breaking heat. These continuous power disruptions have created public health and safety issues, negative economic impacts and disruptions to essential community services including emergency operations, schools, and healthcare facilities.

While PG&E executives enjoy the highest compensation in the nation, PG&E has maintained a poor track record over several decades for failing to safely maintain and operate its electrical equipment despite dangerous wildfire conditions; I am aware of allegations against PG&E being responsible for the 2022 Mosquito Fire in Placer County.

I urge you to use your influence and voice to advocate for the interests of our constituents during this upcoming hearing and hold PG&E accountable for its actions, while demanding a comprehensive plan for improvement on their part before any rate increase is even discussed.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely, Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, 4th District

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