PG&E (NYSE:PCG) electricity customers in California, get ready for some major sticker shock. State regulators just approved a spending bill that will enable price hikes in your upcoming PG&E bills. So, brace yourself for hikes in the cost of utilities in California — even beyond the nation’s rate of inflation.
Sure, the U.S. Consumer Price Index (3.2% in October and some people were happy about that. But that doesn’t mean everything in every state will be cheaper. What’s more, even if you’re not a PG&E customer in California, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to changes in legislation that might affect your electricity bills in 2023 and 2024.) was
Rising PG&E Bills to Send Consumers’ Costs of Utilities Soaring
So, here’s what happened. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a regulatory entity in California, reportedly approved a new spending plan for PG&E. Consequently, starting Jan. 1, 2024, customers who receive both electricity and gas services from PG&E will see their monthly bills “rise by an estimated $32.62 a month on average.”
That’s a real shock during the tail end of the holiday season, as it amounts to a 12.8% hike in customers’ utility bills. This makes October’s national 3.2% consumer price increase seem pretty tame, wouldn’t you agree?
Energy advocate Jessica Tovar certainly seems to — and she is probably not alone in complaining about the considerable price hike. “You should be sending PG&E back to the drawing board [. . .] They have incinerated communities, devastated people and raised rates over and over,” said Tovar, per SiliconValley.com.
PUC Commissioner John Reynolds acknowledged consumers’ frustrations, saying, “We know we are facing an affordability crisis.” Nonetheless, Reynolds was among the regulators to approve the PG&E utility bill increase.
What Can Consumers Do?
The national headline inflation figures don’t necessarily reflect what’s happening in every state and city. Now, a textbook example is happening in California as the cost of utilities soars and consumers will have to deal with sky-high PG&E bills.
You may not be able to control everything that lawmakers do. However, people can still monitor and try to reduce their own electricity usage. This is true wherever you happen to reside. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more updates as high utility bills continue to put pressure on consumers across the nation.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.