The utility has notified state regulators that it plans to seek a 6.5% rate hike in 2011, with smaller increases the following two years. Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman David Eisenhauer says they need to spend more money on their aging power grid.
“Most of those expenditures are going to be spent on replacing existing facilities that are reaching the end of their useful lives. And that’s critical to us in ensuring this safe, reliable service for our customers."
But critics like Mindy Spatt with the watchdog group The Utility Reform Network say that’s just an excuse to raise rates.
“Every time PG&E asks for a rate hike, and they do ask for them quite often, they say it’s because they want to make the system more reliable. But customers have yet to experience this enhanced reliability that we’re always paying for."
Under PG&E’s plan, the typical homeowner's monthly electric bill would go up by $2 to around $76. Monthly natural gas bills would rise by about $3.
The rate hikes need to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to vote on them next year.