Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reached a settlement agreement with the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and 12 other parties in its 2017-2019 General Rate Case.
The settlement agreement, which was submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval, proposes an average increase of less than 1 percent in typical residential customer energy bills to support upgrades to technology and electric and gas infrastructure.
PG&E and all active parties have been working towards a comprehensive settlement agreement since June. This settlement will allow for investments in safe and reliable energy service that supports California’s clean energy goals while keeping typical residential bills well below the national average.
This settlement was achieved on the heels of three weeks of Public Participation Hearings held throughout PG&E’s service area. These hearings provided the Commission and PG&E the opportunity to receive feedback directly from customers about the original rate request.
In addition to funding current operations, the settlement would fund investments to support:
· Emergency preparedness for major disruptions like earthquakes, including construction of a backup gas control center;
· Stronger prevention and management of wildfires through increased patrols and new laser-based technology;
· Advanced mobile technology to provide field workers with the tools to get work done more effectively and efficiently; and
· Faster response times to customer calls about possible gas leaks.
Process for review and bill impact
Every three years, PG&E submits a request for funding to the CPUC, which conducts an open and transparent review of the request along with several public participation hearings across the state with input from all interested parties. The CPUC then determines what revenues are necessary to maintain and upgrade the electric and gas systems. The CPUC’s decision forms the basis for customer rates.