Routine PG&E ‘True Up’ Raises CPUC Eyebrows

By Published On: December 16, 2011

While the California Public Utilities Commission ultimately approved a $398 million rate increase for Pacific Gas & Electric to “true up” various electric operation balancing accounts at year end, commissioners signaled changes in the way they plan to handle such adjustments in the future. “There’s no visibility whatsoever,” complained commissioner Mike Florio about the routine true ups. The changes in finance at year-end typically are handled by advice letter without hearings and okayed on the commission’s consent calendar without discussion. Florio pulled the PG&E true up from the consent calendar and had it placed on the commission’s regular agenda so it could be publicly discussed. He pointed out that PG&E’s true up would be the first of several that will raise rates in the state’s investor-owned utility territories in the coming year by at least another $179 million. Coupled with PG&E’s true up approved Dec. 15, that amounts to a total of $577 million in increased energy utility rates statewide The true ups result, in part from decisions made between commission approvals of general rate cases and also sometimes stem from provisions of general rate cases themselves, commissioners noted. Commissioner Mark Ferron and other commissioners asked the staff to devise a “dashboard” that would track the impact of each of the CPUC’s decisions on rates on an ongoing basis and display the information in a way that’s easy to understand. Commissioner Tim Simon concurred and noted that banks may be able to help the CPUC staff develop such a tracking system. “Rate increases are going to be the number one issue a year or two down the line,” Ferron said.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now