Senator Jerry Hill is calling on PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to address utility bill increases during cold winter months, and how they affect customers. The request was made after reviewing a report that examined utility rates, usage, weather data and information from constituents’ bills that they shared with his office.
“The research showed that the most vulnerable are being hit the hardest at a time when they need heating the most,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “PG&E and the Public Utilities Commission need to prioritize customer heating needs in a way I have not yet seen.”
No kidding, it’s how PG&E rolls. Everybody knows that Senator Hill.
According to the report, it’s PG&E’s tiered rate system which is the culprit for drastically increased bills. The lowest level of natural gas consumption is billed at the lowest rate, known as Tier 1. Gas consumption that exceeds the usage cap for Tier 1, is then billed at a higher rate. For example, Tier 2 gas consumption is billed at a rate that’s roughly 40 percent higher than Tier 1 use.
But these increases can be “unnecessarily high,” states a news release from Hill’s office, particularly for those residents on fixed incomes. The report showed that customers often pay high prices for energy without knowing why or how the increases happened.
To solve the problem, Hill is asking the utility company to better alert customers about when and why their usage is climbing, so they can adapt their consumption before receiving bills that are out of their budgets.
In addition, the senator requests that PG&E modify its Tier 1 usage allowance in the colder months, as it will inevitably be used at a higher rate that in warmer months.
Requests? WTF! How about growing a spine and telling them to lower their rates???
Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner