Pacific Gas and Electric is due to continue a collapse of the existing rate tier structure that has been in place over the last several years.
Since the early 2000s the company has structured prices based on usage. Now down to two, effective March 1st, the tier system has been narrowing the gap to reflect what it actually costs to supply energy to customers. With the collapse comes changes in rates, mostly effecting those at each end of the spectrum. "A slight increase to some customers who use less energy," said PG&E's Brandi Merlot. "But, some higher users may actually see a decrease."
"None of these increases or changes are in any way related to San Bruno," PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlot.
Merlot also said there is also an increase in transmission rates, and a high usage charge to promote conservation. All the changes, she insisted, are separate from the year over year increases that have sparked customer complaints and a common accusation that the utility is passing on to customers the cost of fines and other expenses associated with punishments handed down by the California Public Utilities Commission after the deadly San Bruno gas line explosion in 2010. "None of these increases or changes are in any way related to San Bruno." Merlot says those funds were supported by shareholder dollars and did not effect rates.
PG&E officials also have said that the process of modernizing and simplifying California’s electric rate system aims to eventually move customer to a time-of-use rate structure. They said the changes were developed jointly between PG&E and the CPUC and supported by many consumer interest groups.