State

CPUC approves PG&E rate plan change

Thursday, May 26, 2011

State regulators have given the green light to PG&E's new plan to charge most residential users more for their energy - so that the big energy customers can pay less. This will mean about a 10 percent increase in most customer's bills.

PG&E said that because of the current rate structure, those who use a lot of power are subsidizing those who don't. They claim the gap between the two levels of customers keeps getting wider. Currently those who use less, pay less - the idea behind that was to encourage conservation.

Those who spoke out against the rate change expressed concerns about the environment and spoke about how it will affect people on fixed incomes.

"Many people at this point are choosing between paying for food, or paying for medicine. Any increase, even just a little bit, could be very harmful," said Laurence Steinberg of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living.

"We are supposed to be encouraging people to use less energy. We are supposed to be encouraging people to cut carbon emissions. You don't do that by raising their rates for using less. You do that by rewarding them for using less," said TURN Executive Director Mark Toney.

The commission claimed that the merits of the ruling could be argued, but this is how the majority of the country does it.

PG&E was still preparing its comments on the ruling at the time that this report was filed. ABC7 News will have them later this afternoon.

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pg&e, state, amy hollyfield
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