PG&E is raising utility rates in California to help pay for safety measures


Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers in California will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% early next year. This rate spike is occurring in an effort to help the utility pay for new safety measures and equipment improvements designed to reduce the risk of igniting wildfires in its Northern California service territory. 


The higher prices will officially take effect on March 1st and could boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. 


This rate spike is hitting at an unfortunate time, as many people are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many people are forced to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, their electricity usage is skyrocketing. With these impending rate increases, utility costs are expected to be much higher than usual. 


California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to take on for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people.


PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.


The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial and public catastrophe again. PG&E plans to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines, and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.


If you’re a PG&E customer, expect to see a spike in your electricity bill soon. This is not the last rate hike, and rates will keep increasing. Why stay with PG&E when you can generate your own power and never have to worry about rate hikes again? Going solar allows you to lock in low predictable rates by putting you in control of your home’s energy production. 


Make the switch to solar with us ASAP to gain your energy independence and start SAVING on your electricity costs, not paying more. Schedule a solar consultation with a GST solar adviser and get a free quote by visiting and filling out the fast and simple form.

Dec 8, 2020 By Emily Jackowitz