12/02/2021

Regulators Pass Higher Electricity Rates for Most Residents

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Most California residential customers will see their electricity bills increase under a new rate structure passed Friday that raises rates on more efficient users while giving a break to big energy users.

The Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the plan, which applies to the 75 percent of residential customers who get their electricity from Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. The investor-owned utilities serve more than 30 million people through more than 10 million accounts.

It is the first overhaul of the rate system since brownouts roiled California 15 years ago. Legislators at the time capped costs on basic use to protect households from huge swings in energy bills, prompting utilities commissioners to expand usage tiers and capture more money from higher users.

The new proposal reduces the current four-tier rate structure to two tiers, plus a surcharge for the highest electricity users.

Utilities have long complained that the steeply-tiered system means higher-use households have unfairly subsidized low-use households for years. They say that the gap has only increased, with low-use households not even paying for the cost of supplying electricity.

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