PG&E predicts 32 percent higher gas, electricity bills this winter

Published on February 02, 2023 by Chris Galford

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As winter’s icy grip seizes the nation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) warned its customers this week that the colder than normal temperatures mixed with increased costs of natural gas could lead to approximately 32 percent higher residential gas and electric bills until March.

Those figures were compared to the same time last year, and the price hikes began in November. PG&E cited higher demand and tighter supplies in the region, from residents trying to beat the cold to power plants utilizing more natural gas to meet electricity demand. The company stressed that it does not control market prices. It pays for either gas or electricity or markup beyond that, so if prices fall and the weather warms unexpectedly, bill increases could be less severe.

While the company doesn’t control prices, it did note ways that it is engaging with federal and state officials to find relief for it and its customers. Those customers have already used more natural gas this winter than the past five-year historical average. PG&E signaled support for the California Public Utilities Commission vote on the annual April Climate Credit, which would provide residential customers with credits of $91.17. Separately, a one-time bill credit will be automatically provided to more than 300,000 financially hard-hit customers through the California Arrearage Payment Program in varying amounts.

PG&E itself added that it has sold licensing agreements for its transmission towers to generate more than $970 million to help keep customers’ costs lower. It’s also in the process of undergrounding various power lines to reduce ongoing maintenance costs.