PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) is passing on an increase in the price of electric and gas bills to its customers beginning early 2022. The increases are being caused by inflation and wildfire costs.
The average monthly gas and electric bill for residential customers who receive a combination of PG&E gas and electric service will increase by 9.4%, according to the utility.
According to Paul Doherty, a PG&E spokesperson: “These changes occur annually to consolidate rate changes approved by our regulator, the PUC, and drivers can vary from year to year.”. “A large driver of the January 1, 2022, rate change is for grid safety, reliability and resilience investments and upgrades, including work to reduce wildfire risk,” said Doherty.
Northern California residents have been killed, and thousands of homes have burned to the ground due to a series of fatal and destructive wildfires caused by PG&E equipment in the last few years. Energy markets have also been affected by big increases in the commodity prices for both natural gas and electricity.
“Natural gas commodity prices for this winter are currently double the prices seen last winter,” Doherty said. “Since market electricity prices are driven by the cost of natural gas, a similar increase in the cost of electricity in California’s power markets is happening.”
PG&E warned that the surge in electricity and gas commodity prices is expected to extend well into 2022.
You can expect an increase in your monthly bill beginning with your first cycle in early 2022. Please see the specific increases for your district below. The figures compare the January 2022 month bills with the December 2021 bills:
— Combined electricity and gas bills are due to average $221 a month for the typical ratepayer, an increase of $19, or 9.4%, compared with the prior average bill of $202.
— Electricity bills for the average-use residential ratepayer are slated to total $152 a month, an increase of $12, or 8.6%, compared with the previous average bill of $140.
— Gas bills for the average-usage residential customer are expected to total $69 a month, an increase of $7, or 11.3%, compared with the prior cost of $62.
“Natural gas commodity prices fluctuate month to month and began increasing this past spring and have been accelerating this fall,” PG&E stated. “Natural gas prices for this winter, November 2021 to March 2022, are currently double the prices seen last winter.”
Separate from the annual adjustment in monthly utility prices, electricity bills might rise by an additional — and unspecified — amount at some point during 2022, as a result of a matter being reviewed by the state PUC, PG&E said.
The Energy Resource Recovery Account Forecast proceeding is the official name for the PUC review. The majority of the commission could agree to rate increases related to electricity generation. However, the PUC has not yet decided whether or not to vote on the proposal.