PG&E wants to propose an 18% rate hike during a heat wave. Here’s why

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE)- PG&E is asking the state to raise rates by 18%.

The utility presented a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission saying the money is needed for critical investments- specifically, on work to prevent wildfires.

The California Public Utilities Commission will decide on PG&E’s request to raise rates about 5% a year over four years.  The utility says the money is needed for critical investments to quote “reduce wildfire risk and deliver safe, reliable and clean energy service.”

California Assemblymember Jim Patterson doesn’t believe the Public Utilities Commission will approve the 18% hike, “These are the kinds of things that I think the utility investors need to ante up, rather than the ratepayers. I think the PUC is going to recognize that. I think there’s a high probability that they will suggest we might have the ratepayers pick up some of that.”

A Next 10 / UC Berkeley study published this February year examined all the different costs and fees paid by everyday electricity users in California and determined we pay the highest prices for power in the nation.

Patterson sees this as partially a result of excessive requirements placed on utilities by state lawmakers, “There is a perfect storm that has come together with respect to the regulatory burdens that the utilities are under. The politicization of electricity.”

PG&E declined our requests for an on-camera interview about the rate change. A copy of the request they filed with the California Public Utilities Commission is linked below.

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