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PG&E Rates Hiked For Wildfire Protections

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Sonora, CA – The California Public Utilities Commission this afternoon unanimously approved significant electric and gas rate hikes for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to pay for wildfire protections.

Customers will pay an average of more than $32 per month over the next year so the utility can bury more of its power lines to reduce the chances of starting wildfires. Initially, the company had asked regulators for more than a $38 per month hike to bury 2,100 miles of power lines in areas that are at high risk for wildfires.

At Thursday’s meeting, a lesser amount was granted, resulting in a typical bill increasing by about $32.50 next year, followed by a $4.50 increase in 2025, before decreasing by $8 per month in 2026, according to PG&E. Additionally, the commissioners decided to let PG&E bury 1,230 miles of power lines, which would be $1.7 billion cheaper than PG&E’s proposal. The company noted that 85% of the increase was to improve safety in its gas and electric operations.

The Utility Reform Network, an advocacy group for ratepayers, says PG&E’s residential rates have more than doubled since 2006.