Assemblyman Protests PG&E’s Proposal To Raise Rates To Cover Upgrades

Will the CPUC let PG&E bill customers for past failures?

The California Public Utilities Commission must decide if PG&E can raise its rates to pay for upgrades to its natural gas transmission system and one Bay Area lawmaker is calling on the CPUC to reject that proposal.

The CPUC ordered all utilities to make upgrades to their pipeline systems to prevent an explosion like the one that occurred in San Bruno in 2010.

In order to pay for that work long-term, PG&E said it needs to spend $2.2 billion.

The money to upgrade PG&E’s system would be passed on to ratepayers over the next 40 years.

Members of The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, and state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, of San Bruno, said that’s not fair.

They held a press conference Monday morning outside the CPUC and called on the agency to reject PG&E’s $2.2 billion proposal.

Hill said PG&E’s shareholders should pick up the tab for the maintenance work, not the ratepayers.

“We’ve already paid for the pipes; 95 percent of the cost,” Hill said.

Hill said after taxes, interest and profits, ratepayers would end up paying $5 billion over the next 45 years.

PG&E said it charges its shareholders for the cost of maintenance work it’s done from 2010 through 2014, but utility spokeswoman said under their plan future upgrades will be paid for by rate payers.

“This on-going maintenance, $2 dollar monthly increase,” said PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord.

Now, it’s all in the hands of the CPUC.

The CPUC must either reject or approve PG&E’s $2 billion spending plan.