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PG&E raising consumer electricity rates

An electric meter
Don JinTX
Flickr / Creative Commons
An electric meter

Starting next month, Bay Area residential customers will be paying about nine-percent more on their monthly electricity bills to PG&E, with smaller businesses paying a percentage point above that.

The state’s five-member Public Utilities Commission voted 4-0 to approve the rate increase.

PG&E had argued that the rate increase was needed because of the hike in the price of wholesale natural gas, as well as shortages in hydroelectric power from the California’s dams caused by the ongoing drought. The utility company said costs last year exceeded forecasts by $287 million.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that PUC Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma estimated that average residential customers could pay more than 16 dollars-per-month, while a PG&E official put the total at $14.

However, Mark Toney, the executive director of The Utility Reform Network, alleged that PG&E had misled the state’s public utilities commission. The group claims the rate hike, the second approved this year, will actually mean a 20-percent rate increase for consumers.