August 22, 2006 > PG & E proposes heat storm credit
PG & E proposes heat storm credit
Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced a new effort to provide immediate relief to customers in the wake of last month's heat wave, which has resulted in substantial increases in energy usage and, therefore, customers' bills. The utility plans to provide a one time credit of 15 percent for all residential customers and a 10 percent credit to all other customers, including agricultural, business, commercial and governmental. The company is seeking the approval of its plans by the California Public Utilities Commission.
"The heat storm was an unprecedented, extraordinary event, and this is an unprecedented step by PG&E," said Helen Burt, senior vice president and chief customer officer. "We saw a clear need to lend an extra hand to customers by going above and beyond our traditional assistance programs and quickly creating this new credit. We will immediately move to obtain the necessary support of California regulators."
The prolonged regional heat wave in late July caused a spike in electricity consumption as customers were struggling to stay comfortable in the blazing temperatures. Comparing July to June, PG&E residential customers' electricity usage increased by an average of 28 percent per customer from 537 kwh to 690 kwh as a result of the high temperatures and average bills increased an average of 44 percent, from about $79 to $114. Regions such as the Central Valley, where typical summer residential use is higher than average, saw even higher increases.
The proposal enables PG&E to accelerate the credit that customers would normally receive at a later date. PG&E anticipates that the total amount credited to customers in October will be approximately $125 million. The company's proposal would provide a future credit directly to customers' energy bills based on the bill received for the July heat storm. If a customer's billing cycle results in two bills that each include a portion of the heat storm period use, the company would look at both bills and provide a credit based on the larger bill.
PG&E anticipates filing its proposal with the CPUC later this week. The company will request expedited approval from the commission which could allow for the bill credit to begin appearing on customers' bills as early as October 1.
For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit the company's web site at www.pge.com