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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

PG&E raises residential gas, energy bills

For 2014, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) projected an increase of 2.8 percent in total residential natural gas and electric bills. This will translate to an increase of about $3 to $4 in payments for normal residential energy prices.

“These increases in prices are not arbitrary,” said Jonathan Marshall, a representative from PG&E. “For us at PG&E, upholding trustworthy service and maintaining safety are top priorities. Thankfully over many years, our rates are moving side by side with inflation and our average customer bills are under the national average and will continue to be that way.”

PG&E is increasing fees to account for greater wholesale energy purchase costs and to improve, maintain and modernize the utility’s infrastructure. These fees will rake up an additional $145 million in revenue in comparison to last year.

“California’s fast-growing use of renewable power will also add to monthly PG&E bills in 2014. State law requires California utilities to get 33 percent of their electricity from the sun, wind and other renewable sources by the end of 2020,” said Tom Bottoroff, a PG&E worker. “We have added about 1,400 megawatts of renewable generation to its portfolio in 2013. That’s nearly the output of three nuclear reactors.”

In most cases, the changes in residential energy bills will not change the amount students pay for rent.

 “The increases in PG&E energy bills will not affect the subsequent rent lease; energy bills are paid separately by residents,” said Breinna Ghiorzo, a representative from Alhambra Apartments. “Even though we have yearly increases of $20, those are because we are following market trends.”

Jimmy Chen, a worker for Camellia Apartments, said that he has no complaints about PG&E.

“I pay mine, and you pay your bills,” Chen said. “I pay about $20 to $30 personally for electricity; PG&E is very reasonable in comparison to Cupertino [and] Sacramento for energy. I only pay $65 to $90 for air conditioning and heating. I cannot complain.”

Bryce Vick, a fourth-year sociology major living off-campus, said that he finds it challenging to deal with the energy bill.

“Gas was really expensive last month, usually we are charged about $9 to $12 a month, but last month we were charged $41. It has been [a] challenge to find the additional funds; however, we always find a way to pay it,” Vick said. “Usually it is about $50 … which is about three to four hours of work for my apartment mate and myself each, which is still hard to fit in with all the school work and groceries. “

For Ferris Elhein, a fourth-year biochemistry major living in a house in Davis, the energy and rent bill is mildly affecting his budget since he shares a house with four other people.

“For me, rent increased from last year by around $500. But that didn’t affect my budget because we just had an extra person to help pay the bills in the house,” Elhein said. “I don’t think PG&E is charging fair rates on energy consumption, but there’s nothing we can do about it other than applying for low-income prices. Personally, other than that, I haven’t had any problems with them.”

Overall, because of the increasing cost of living, Elhein is very conscious in his finances.

“I limit how much I eat out, spend less money on clothing and don‘t spoil myself,” Elhein said.

Marielle Tanton, a third-year genetics major, said the energy bill is not drastically affecting her budget.

“Overall it is not really affecting me right now. It is low enough for my financial aid and paycheck to cover,” Tanton said. “For PG&E, I have not felt cheated when I got a bill, and I have never had to call customer service.”


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