FRESNO, California.- PG&E customers could see an average hike in their bill of about $10.50 in 2020 if the California Public Utility Commission grants PG&E’s request to raise energy rates by billions in the next three years.

At a public forum held at Fresno City Hall on Wednesday, there were about ten people who strongly advised the commission to deny the request stating the rates are already too high as it is.

“We just live day by day,” said Fresno resident Marie Ramirez. “They are making a choice either to eat or have lights.”

“I beg you not to do this,” said Centro La Family Advocacy Executive Director Margarita Rocha as she pleaded her case. “We already see families that can’t afford the rate they currently have, and pay rent, and buy food to take care of their families like they should.”

The increase in rates would affect service to around sixteen million people in northern and central California. The proposal would increase rates by $1.057 billion in 2020, $454 million in 2021, and $486 million in 2022.

PG&E Vice President Roland Trevino said the money is for wildfire prevention, liability insurance, and an increase in general utility services.

“As always, our commitment is to keep customers cost as low as possible, while meeting our responsibilities to safely serve our customers even as changing climate presents new challenges and risks,” said Trevino.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand understands the safety concern but he stated at the meeting that city residents just don’t have the funds to cover the cost.

“Fresno is dealing with the highest concentration of poverty in the state,” said Brand. “And the second rate of extreme poverty in the United States and any level of increase would be hard for many of our residents to handle.”

If you would like to share your thought on the matter you can send written comments to by the fall before the decision is made.