Pacific Gas & Electric seeks an overall 6.5 percent rate increase at the beginning of 2006. Residential customers not in the low-income bracket will, however, see nearly an 11 percent rise in their utility bills. The utility made its annual application to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval September 1. PG&E's electric revenue requirement for next year will increase by $600 million to about $105 billion, stated the utility in a September 1 afternoon press release. According to PG&E, although rates for businesses and farmers will likely rise in 2006, the increase is below rates during the 2001 energy crisis. Small and medium-sized business rates are expected to rise by between 2.9 and 3.5 percent. Large businesses' rates are expected to increase by between 3.5 and 4.1 percent. Agricultural customers? rates will increase by about 3.8 percent. The increase is attributed to a $435 million increase in Department of Water Resources long-term contracts and a $275 million rise in public-goods programs for energy efficiency, self-generation, and demand-side management, according to PG&E. A $109 million increase is attributable to buying power supplies. The utility pointed out that reduced grid operator charges produced a $170 million savings and the refinancing of the bonds issued to finance PG&E's bankruptcy cut costs by $50 million.