SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved most aspects of a multi-party settlement agreement between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E or the Utility) and customer advocacy, labor and safety groups that resolved PG&E’s 2020-2022 General Rate Case (GRC), which includes the Utility’s ongoing efforts to reduce wildfire risk and to continue delivering safe and reliable service to customers.
The GRC decision enables necessary investment in PG&E’s electric and gas distribution systems and power generation infrastructure, including investments to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires through electric system hardening, enhanced vegetation management, system automation, and asset inspection and repair.
The GRC also enables PG&E to continue its efforts to make Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events smaller in size, shorter in duration and smarter in execution. Those efforts include devices that limit the size of outages to impact fewer customers; temporary generators to provide power to essential services and communities that would otherwise be shut off for safety; crews for inspection and restoration efforts; and customer notifications in 13 languages that provide estimates about when power will be shut off and restored.
“The safety of our customers and communities we are privileged to serve is where everything begins for PG&E. It’s our most important responsibility. We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system. We are pleased that today’s action by the Commission approves much of the negotiated multi-party settlement, which allows us to continue those efforts and underscores our commitment to the 16 million people we serve,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E Vice President, Regulatory and External Affairs.
Reducing Wildfire Risk
Among the important wildfire safety investments funded by 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 high fire-risk 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 stations in high fire-risk areas by 2022; and
- Installing nearly 600 new high-definition wildfire detection cameras in high fire-threat areas, increasing coverage across these areas to more than 90 percent.
While the 2020 GRC will help fund a series of important safety investments, it will not fund legal claims resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires. It also will not fund any PG&E Corporation or Utility officer compensation.
With the CPUC approval of the settlement agreement, the average monthly bill for a typical residential electric and gas customer will increase by $13.44 a month. This includes $10.40 for electric and $3.05 for gas service. The 2020 GRC rate change, which incorporates bill impacts for 2020 and 2021, will be effective March 1, 2021 and will impact rates until Dec 31, 2022.
”PG&E’s commitment is to keep customer costs as low as possible while meeting our responsibilities to safely serve our customers, even as our changing climate presents significant new challenges and risks,” Kenney said.
Cost Savings Initiatives to Help Reduce Customer Costs
To help reduce customer costs, PG&E has identified an estimated average savings of $1 billion per year in operational costs through 2025 from various cost savings initiatives. Cost savings initiatives include the sale of PG&E’s San Francisco General Office headquarters and move to Oakland, sale of surplus property, sale of excess renewable energy, renegotiation of Power Purchase Agreements, strategic sourcing, and workforce management. These savings will help moderate the expected increase in customer bills to support infrastructure investment.
How Customers Can Save Money on Energy Bills
PG&E offers energy management tools and rate options to help customers reduce their energy usage and maximize their energy cost savings. Here are four ways customers can take control of their energy use:
- Sign up for an online account. Set up an account to get access to helpful management tools, review energy use and costs, pay bills, compare rates plans and more. Sign up for a free account at pge.com.
- Take a free Home Energy Checkup. Find out how much of your household's energy goes to heating, hot water, appliances and lighting. PG&E's Home Energy Checkup is a fast, simple web-based tool that provides a personalized list of ways to reduce energy and lower your bill. Take a checkup today at pge.com/myenergyuse.
- Find your best rate plan. PG&E has many rate plans to suit a variety of home energy needs based on things like how much energy you use, when you use energy and whether you have an electric vehicle. Run a personalized electric rate plan comparison to make sure you are on the best rate plan for you at pge.com/ratechoices.
- Set a Bill Forecast Alert. Bill Forecast Alert is a free and easy tool to help better manage monthly energy bills. Get notified by text, phone or email if your monthly bill is projected to exceed the amount you specify. Set your Bill Forecast Alert today at pge.com/energyalerts.
For more tips on how to save energy, visit pge.com/everydaytips.
To take advantage of additional programs, tools and savings opportunities, PG&E recommends customers become more familiar with the following:
- Separate from the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE), income-qualified households with three or more persons can apply for the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program at pge.com/FERA for an 18 percent discount on their electric bill.
- Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) provides income-qualified customers with financial assistance during times of hardship. Customers impacted by COVID-19 will be provided with up to an additional $100 in bill payment assistance. The program is funded by PG&E through tax-deductible contributions from customers and employees. To donate, click here.
This news release contains forward-looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the beliefs, expectations, estimates, future plans and strategies of the Utility, including but not limited to statements regarding the Utility’s efforts in connection with its PSPS events, reducing wildfire risk, estimated average savings of $1 billion per year in operational costs through 2025, and cost savings initiatives. 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, 2019, their joint quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2020, June 30, 2020, September 30, 2020, and other reports filed with the SEC, which are available on PG&E Corporation's website at www.pgecorp.com and on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Additional factors include, but are not limited to, those associated with the Plan of Reorganization of PG&E Corporation and the Utility that became effective on July 1, 2020. 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 companies 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 www.pge.com/news.