SAN BRUNO (KRON) — This winter, many PG&E customers noticed their power bills were higher than normal, sometimes hundreds of dollars more each month.
The large bills are the result of people using more power to keep warm, but also, they are the result of changes that PG&E made to what it charges for energy.
State Sen. Jerry Hill has introduced a bill that could bring some relief to customers.
Hill (D-San Mateo County) says that over the past few months, his office has been flooded with calls and emails from people saying that their power bills have risen dramatically.
Hill’s office looked into it and found several reasons for the increases.
“One is that the price of gas has gone up,” Hill said. “It’s been a colder winter, and what we found was that people have jumped into the second tier of gas consumption a lot quicker than they should have.”
What he’s referring to there are rate changes that PG&E has been phasing in over the past several years. This is a little hard to explain, but basically, PG&E has reduced the number of power consumption tiers from four in 2015 to two starting in 2017.
Customers are now jumping from the cheaper tier one to the more expensive tier two faster than they did in years past. Part of the reason is that the new tiers are based on the average power usage of customers over several months.
In an attempt to give customers some relief, Sen. Hill has introduced legislation that would do several things.
First, it would require PG&E to base the tiers on a month-by-month basis rather than a seasonal average.
Second, with every monthly power bill, Hill wants PG&E to include an estimate of what the next month’s power bill will be so customers won’t be caught off guard.
KRON4 reached out to PG&E for comment.
It says that it is currently reviewing the proposed legislation.