PG&E Warns that Utility Bills Would Average $835 per Month if Forced to Comply with Federal Judge’s Order
In a new court filing, PG&E warned that it would have to hire over 650,000 workers and raise rates five-fold if forced to comply with a federal judge’s ruling for a massive inspection and maintenance to their electrical grid.
Federal Judge William Alsup has indicated he may order PG&E to undertake a thorough inspection of its electricity grid and to launch a wide-ranging vegetation management plan ahead of the upcoming 2019 fire season in Northern California.
This is just the latest blow to the utility who could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as next week due to the amount of debt and liability in recent years. State fire investigators have determined the company’s equipment caused 17 of the infernos in the North Bay Wine Country and nearby regions in 2017. PG&E disclosed that it suffered equipment failures near the point of origin of a fatal blaze in Butte County in 2018.
PG&E said it would have to spend roughly $75 billion in order to comply with the federal judge’s order. They warned that they would have to raise rates five-fold in order to cover the cost.
That means monthly utility bills would average $835 per month for their 16 million California customers, according to the estimates PG&E provided in the court filing.
“The resources required to comply with the (judge’s proposed order) do not exist,” PG&E stated in a federal court filing. “PG&E does not have the necessary funds. Were PG&E allowed to pass on the costs, the rate increases would be oppressive.”
The Public Utilities Commission is expected to weigh in on the judge’s plan by the end of the week and a hearing on the proposal is set for January 30th.