Regulators’ Tiers Bode Higher Rates

By Published On: January 9, 2014

In an effort to be more even-handed, and as a result of legislative requirements to explore changing the electric rate tier structure through AB 327, utility rates are expected to rise, according to the Office of Ratepayer Advocates. The California Public Utilities Commission opened a docket in June 2013 to explore transforming the complicated configuration. Utilities propose to eliminate some tiers and simplify rates. They say, overall, rates would decrease for large consumers and rise slightly for smaller customers (Current, Dec. 2, 2013). Both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison plan to merge their two middle tiers—2 and 3—for a three-tier configuration. San Diego Gas & Electric plans a two-tier structure. Ratepayer Advocates estimated Dec. 23, 2013, that for Tier 1 (up to baseline) rates PG&E and SDG&E rates would increase by 14 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Edison rates were not itemized for Tier 1, other than its proposals would “result in substantial bill increases,” noted ORA. PG&E would apply between a 10-20 percent increase, Edison over 10 percent, and SDG&E 15 percent. For low-income customers under the CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) PG&E consumers could see a 15 percent or more increase. Edison bills would go up 10 percent or more for most CARE customers. SDG&E’s impact was not itemized.

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