Combating Ever-Rising PG&E Rates

Combating Ever-Rising PG&E Rates

For years, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has been at the center of California's energy debate, particularly regarding its rate structure. With the company's rates rising for the fourth time in the past five years, homeowners are feeling the pinch more than ever.

What's Behind the Hikes?

There's no denying that the recent 8% increase for residential customers, announced in February 2023, follows a troubling trend. A sequence of hikes in 2022 had already burdened Californians, with many left juggling their finances to meet monthly bills. Understanding the reasons behind these increases is crucial for homeowners:

  • Safety Equipment Upgrades: PG&E is investing in safety equipment to minimize wildfire risks. A significant part of this strategy involves placing electric lines underground.

  • Aging Infrastructure: The company must maintain and update its aging infrastructure, ensuring continued and safe service delivery.

  • Debt from California Energy Crisis: PG&E is still grappling with debts accrued during the state's energy crisis.

  • Civil Penalties: The 2017 wildfires led to massive fines for the company, another expenditure it needs to account for.

  • Rising Energy and Gas Prices: The ever-fluctuating global market has an undeniable impact on the company's rate structure.

  • New Gas Pipeline Construction: Infrastructure projects like these require hefty investments.

As a result, homeowners are feeling the heat. From November 2022 to March 2023, residential energy bills soared by 32% compared to the previous year. For some customers, this translates to an additional $79+ per month. And if the California Public Utilities Commission's projections hold true, we might see a staggering 32% increase by 2026.

Source: California Public Utilities Commission Projections
PG&E Request - 2023 Monthly Residential Bill Impact
Customer/Typical Monthly Usage Current Bill PG&E Proposed Increase Estimated 2023 Bill % Increase

Residential Customer

Electric: 500 kWh per month
Gas: 33 therms per month
Combined Total









CARE Residential Customer

Electric: 500 kWh per month
Gas: 29 therms per month
Combined Total









A Brief Glimpse into PG&E's Rate History

The electric rate increase in 2023 isn't an isolated event. Between 2009 and 2019, the PG&E rate per kilowatt grew more than the inflation rate. Fast forward to January 2022, and PG&E hiked gas rates by 11% and electricity rates by 8%. A month later, they proposed another 9% increase for electricity. And these trends don't seem to be slowing down.

Empowering Homeowners: Tips to Combat Rising Costs

If this trajectory continues, homeowners must be proactive. Here are some recommendations:

  • Reevaluate Your Plan: It might be time to switch to a more cost-effective PG&E rate plan. Is there a more affordable rate plan based on your location and usage?

  • Reduce Consumption: Transition to energy-efficient and long-lasting LED lights and maintain moderate temperatures in your home during peak cooling and heating seasons.

  • Consider Solar Power: Depending on your location and home, installing solar power has proven to be a viable solution for thousands of homeowners.

  • Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances: Consider replacing old inefficient HVAC systems and appliances with modern, ultra-efficient appliances and heat pump systems for cooling and heating.

  • Incentives and Rebates: Check for any available incentives, tax credits, or rebates offered by the government or utility companies to offset equipment and installation costs.

Solar: The Sustainable Solution with Got Watts

Transitioning to solar energy can be a game-changer. In states like California, abundant sunshine makes solar panels a logical and sustainable solution. Shifting to solar reduces dependence on utility grids and protects homeowners from fluctuating rates. Moreover, solar energy remains consistent, unlike hydroelectric power, which can be scarce during droughts.

Solar Powered Home

Got Watts, a leader in the solar space with over 8 years of experience and countless 5-star reviews, offers efficient solar solutions tailored to homeowners' needs. As a Diamond Certified contractor, our expertise in solar power is unmatched in the Greater East Bay Region of the SF Bay Area.

With PG&E rates showing no signs of abating, it's high time homeowners consider alternative energy solutions. At Got Watts, we’re here to help you navigate the world of solar power, ensuring you're safeguarded against rising utility bills. Contact us today and discover the brighter, sustainable side of energy.