Citing an increase in natural gas prices, earlier in the year, increased electricity demand and lower supplies of hydroelectric power, PG&E announced a two-tier rate increase; the first is a 6 percent hike the takes place on Wednesday. Six percent is an average. Some PG&E customers will pay less. If you're bill's been around $72, the increase will be closer to two percent.
"At higher usage levels, 850 kilowatt hours, a customer would pay $158.11 this year, instead of $148.44 last year for a seven percent increase," said Tom Bottorff, PG&E senior vice president.
The proposal for an additional increase of two and half percent in January, filed with the Public Utility Commission on Wednesday, may not be needed due to the decreasing price of natural gas. In San Francisco's Marina District Wednesday morning, Cathy Vogel was keeping an eye on her grandson Finnegan, and keeping an eye on the timing of PG&E's six percent rate hike, with everything else that's going on in the economy.
"It will be a hardship on many people. Obviously we support alternative energy, but I'm not positive that we have explored the best ways to find it," said Vogel.
Britt Wenzler is most concerned for those who can least afford the rate hike.
"For me I'm single I don't have a family, so with the disposable income I have I might be able to take it, But families probably could not handle it based on how the economy is," said Wenzler.
A proposed 2.5 percent rate increase for January may not to have happen after all. The bad news, a 6 percent rate increase going to happen. In fact it happened on Wednesday.
Over 15 million people impacted by the rated increase – that's how many customers that is served by PG&E. PG&E has 82 separate programs that you can take part in. To learn more click here: http://www.pge.com/myhome/