PG&E rates rise for users large and small, the middle is less affected

If you Google “PG&E Rate Increase,” you will find a single article from December 2015, that reports on a 7% rate increase beginning in January 2016.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 5.16.05 PM If that was the whole picture, it would be a minor thing, and mostly in line with PG&E’s historical rate increases over the last 3o years, which average out to 6.75% annually.

But there hasn’t been one rate increase. Since January 1 2015, there have been four. Taken together, the rate increases since January 1 2015 are much higher. How much? It depends on your usage. G&E’s base rate for electricity has gone up from 16.6¢/kWh, to 18.2¢, an increase of 9.6%. Tier 2 has gone up 49%, from 17¢ to 25.5¢. These are the tiers smaller households are typically charged for electricity.

Tier 3 has not moved, while tier 4, the rate you pay for anything over a rather modest electricity usage, has gone up by 17%.

This is how it impacts your bill. If you have a small, frugal household, your rates just went up by probably around 25%. If you have a larger household, your rates went up by somewhere around 20%.

At these electricity rates, solar delivers energy at about one third of the cost, and it keeps delivering energy for the same cost over forty to forty-five years. The consequences to household cash flow and ROI (if you look at solar as an investment) are clear. The conclusion is simple: Today, solar is the number one choice to power your household, bar none.

Graph: Since January 1 2015, PG&E rates have gone a little down, a little sideways, and a lot up in the tiers that really matter—at the bottom and top of the scale. Both the rich and the poor will help feather PG&E’s bed under this arrangement.