SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Pacific Gas and Electric is once again raising residential rates, outraging many consumer advocates.

PG&E executives said the rate hikes, which will begin on the first of the year, are needed for the utility to invest in new power plants and equipment.

Customers will see an increase of $3-5 on their January bill for electricity use, a 2.4 percent increase. Gas rates on average will increase 1.8 percent.

KCBS’ Ted Goldberg Reports:

PG&E Senior Vice President Tom Bottorff said the increases are modest and below the rate of inflation.

“Most of the revenues from these changes are going to cover the cost of continuing improvements in our infrastructure, mainly to enhance safety and reliability,” Bottorff said.

But consumer advocates like Mindy Spatt of TURN, The Utility Reform Network, said she doesn’t buy that reasoning.

“Year after year, we hear that PG&E is using our money only in our interest,” Spatt said. “Yet from the customer’s perspective, the outages continue and the problems continue.”

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the hikes at its last meeting. PG&E officials said they expect another electricity rate change to take effect in March.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. mike p says:

    Meanwhile, natural gas prices at record lows – except for customers of PGE!!

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