SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Underscoring the company’s commitment to reducing wildfire risk, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E or the Utility) has reached a crucial milestone in its 2020 General Rate Case (GRC), which funds a series of important additional safety investments to help protect the 16 million people PG&E serves.
In a settlement agreement with the Public Advocates Office of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), The Utility Reform Network, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Office of the Safety Advocate of the CPUC, National Diversity Coalition, Center for Accessible Technology, Small Business Utility Advocates, and California City-County Street Light Association, the parties agree that the CPUC should approve funding for PG&E’s ongoing wildfire prevention efforts, risk monitoring, emergency response, increased vegetation management, hardening of PG&E’s electric system, and other new and enhanced safety measures to further reduce wildfire risk. The GRC settlement agreement also includes funding for electric and gas distribution safety and reliability and power generation.
The settlement was filed today with the CPUC.
“These efforts support PG&E’s most important responsibility, which is the safety of our customers and the communities we serve,” said PG&E Utility CEO and President Andy Vesey. “This agreement furthers our commitment to deliver safe and reliable energy to our customers including making our system more resilient to the growing threat of wildfires.”
Among the important wildfire safety investments in the GRC are the following components of PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program:
- Installing stronger and more resilient poles and covered power lines in the highest fire-threat areas;
- Increasing ongoing work to keep power lines clear of branches from an estimated 120 million trees with the potential to grow or fall into overhead power lines, including annual vegetation inspection of approximately 81,000 miles of high-voltage electric distribution lines;
- Implementing SmartMeter™ technology to more quickly identify and respond to fallen power lines;
- Expanding the network of weather stations to enhance weather forecasting and modeling by adding 1,300 new weather stations in high fire-risk areas by 2022; and
- Installing nearly 600 new high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas, increasing coverage across these areas to more than 90 percent.
The settlement agreement also calls for further investing in technologies and strategies that minimize the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs, among the tools PG&E uses to reduce the risks of wildfire.
While the GRC will help fund a series of important safety investments, it will not fund potential claims resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires. It also will not fund any PG&E Corporation or Utility officer compensation.
If the CPUC approves the settlement agreement, the average monthly bill for a typical residential electric and gas customer would increase by $5.69 a month, or 3.4 percent. This includes $4.90 for electric and $0.79 for gas service. The resulting rate change would occur in 2020 following the CPUC’s decision and revise rates through 2022.
“PG&E’s commitment is to keep customer bills as low as possible while meeting our responsibilities to safely serve our customers, even as our changing climate presents significant new challenges and risks,” Vesey said.
The settlement agreement will be reviewed by the assigned administrative law judges, and other parties will have an opportunity to provide comments before a final CPUC decision is issued in 2020.
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the beliefs, expectations, estimates, future plans and strategies of PG&E Corporation and the Utility. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, which management believes are reasonable, and on information currently available to management, but are necessarily subject to various risks and uncertainties. In addition to the risk that these assumptions prove to be inaccurate, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements include factors disclosed in PG&E Corporation and the Utility’s joint Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, their joint Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019, June 30, 2019 and September 30, 2019, and their subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additional factors include, but are not limited to, those associated with the voluntary cases commenced by each of PG&E Corporation and the Utility under Chapter 11 on January 29, 2019. PG&E Corporation and the Utility undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether due to new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by law.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy company in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.