SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Your PG&E bill may be going up, way up. The utility is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate hike that could increase bills by up to $31 per month.
Advocates were demanding 'fair rates' on the steps of California Public Utilities headquarters Wednesday where regulators will soon decide if PG&E will be granted a steep rate hike, which could raise the average monthly gas and electric bill between $25 to $31 dollars, depending how they vote.
"At a time when families are struggling to pay monthly bills, food rent, healthcare, transportation, PG&E executives are seeking to reward themselves with large bonuses," said San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu.
"The cost of greening the grid should not be cutting off low-income children of color because bills are too dog gone high," said Mark Toney from The Utility Reform Network.
At a time when many families struggling to cut costs to make ends meet, officials say the utility should too.
"PG&E has not tightened its belt, instead they spend millions of dollars on commercials to improve their image," said Dr. Matthew Ajaike, President of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce.
"This is a company that's out of control when it comes to spending, we need accountability and affordability and safety, we need PG&E to be transparent about how it spends its money, and we don't have that today," said former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
In a statement to ABC7 News, PG&E defends the proposed rate hike saying, "undergrounding powerlines in the highest fire-risk areas will make our hometowns and California safer, improve electric reliability and save customers billions of dollars in avoided annual tree trimming and overhead line maintenance costs. We are working to keep customer cost increases at or below assumed inflation, between 2 and 4% a year."
Will Abrams and his family lost their Santa Rosa home in the 2017 Tubbs Fire.
"Undergrounding is a fantastic thing in the long term, but they're going to be cutting back on a lot of things in the short term to make room for that, less vegetation management," said Abrams.
Meantime the pushback against higher rates seems to be getting louder.
CPUC Regulators were scheduled to consider the rate hike at a meeting Thursday but it's been postponed until Nov. 16, officials say the issue is being held for further review.
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