By Allen Martin

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Many PG&E customers say their bills have doubled or even tripled recently.

The utility company is blaming weather and rate increases, but a utility watchdog group says there is more to the story.

One customer in Pleasanton saw her bill skyrocket to $2,500 last month. Another PG&E customer says her bill recently jumped from $20 to $90. Posts on social media are telling the same story.

The utility watchdog group, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), says a big chunk of the increase is going to pay for improvements to gas pipelines and storage.

Improvements, it says, customers shouldn’t have to pay.

Mark Toney, executive director of TURN, called the hike “absolutely outrageous.”

Toney said there are a couple of reasons for the price hike: three rate increases last year totaling about 21 percent. The colder, damper weather. And something else.

“The biggest part of the increase is the gas transportation…” Toney said.

Toney says two years ago, California state utility regulators approved an 83 percent increase for gas transmission and storage.

Something, that amounts to about half your monthly bill.

The cost, is being phased in over three years.

“The reason people didn’t notice it last year is because last year we had a mild winter, and the cost of the gas actually went down,” Toney said.

PG&E’s response is “we understand that higher than expected bills are frustrating.”

And so do some lawmakers.

California State Senator Jerry Hill  said, “I am concerned when I hear that ratepayers are getting charged that much money and they’re using the same amount of gas — there’s something wrong.”

Hill promised to look into the hike.

But, Toney says, in the meantime, customers are getting burned.

“There is no doubt that these pipelines need to be repaired…we agree with that,” Toney said. “The question is: How much should the ratepayers pay, when the shareholders were the ones responsible?”

PG&E did not confirm the 83 percent increase, but it does confirm that more rate changes could be coming in 2017.

In the meantime, PG&E says people who think their bills are too high, should contact the utility and ask for a bill review.

Comments (8)
  1. So I don’t use the G part of PGE and my bill quintupled. What’s their excuse for that?

  2. Greg Mooren says:

    Get a Free Solar Quote from Greg Mooren, Progressive Power Solutions, we offer everyone rates we would offer our friends and family.

  3. Peggie Davis says:

    I have gone to the PUC and complained last year. Finally? PG&E upper echelon were “all over it” – helping me when they had turned a “deaf ear” the prior two years. Just so you know what their tactics are? I am a widow on a fixed income – they terminated me from the low income program because they increased their limits and I was about $800 too high for help. When I complained last year? Their answer was to feign a disability to get into the disabled program. REALLY? MY answer? CUT salaries at the top; do AWAY with as MANY benefits as they are getting in regard to BOTH medical and retirement. They didn’t apparently like my suggestions. I saw a normalized bill for 6 month and now it has RETURNED to $262 a month for a 1400 sq. ft. house wherein I keep the analog thermostat at 65 during the day and 58 at night. I invested in dual pane windows 8 years ago because they said that is where I was losing heat. They toldl me last year I had a 20 year old gas water heater that was causing the LATEST rise in my monthly bill, so I invested in a new energy star one – I have seen NO CHANGE. I am fed up with their advice, their lies and their “fat cat” salaries and perks at the top. I see no reason to expend money further into solar – I need NO DEBT and I don’t believe this is the answer in my situation nor thousands like me in the bay area with small homes living on fixed incomes. The corporation needs to fire one and all and start NEW at this juncture – because I’ve done all the changing I can; and I’m sick of the rhetoric and lies they spew constantly, one fabricated right after the other if it doesn’t work. AND IT DOESN’T.

  4. Beth Hoh says:

    Wait till you all get your March bill. We are paying for their San Bruno explosion legal fines, among other things like high salaries..

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