By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is outrage across northern California as PG&E customers say their bills have gone way up, even when their usage has not.

Erin Lamb’s winter bill usually doubles, to about $500, because it gets cold in the foothills where she lives. But this winter her PG&E bill quadrupled to $1100.

“That’s a mortgage for a lot of people,” she said.

Lamb wants to know why.

PG&E says rates jump to a higher tier after a certain amount of usage. So Erin compared her overall electricity usage from previous year’s. It hasn’t changed much.

“I know we have to pay for our services, but it just seems outrageous,” she said.

Erin isn’t alone.

Hundreds of PG&E users in the Sacramento area say their bills are soaring too, and PG&E hasn’t given them a good explanation.

So we took their questions to PG&E.

PG&E says the high bills are due to “a combination of three factors: a rate increase to fund safety work throughout our system, colder than normal temperatures, and variables individual to each customer’s account…we understand their frustration,” said PG&E Spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo.

CBS13 checked on one of those variables—National Weather Service records say Sacramento was only one degree cooler on average in December compared to December 2015.

Lamb is wondering if PG&E has changed the tier structure, throwing her into a higher rate class, more often than a year ago. We’ve asked and haven’t gotten an answer to that question yet.

We asked whether PG&E considered the impact when they hiked rates.

Paulo said, “We always consider the impact to our customers. When we go to our regulator and ask for an increase in rates, it’s to fund work to provide value for our customers.”

Lamb values her power.

“This is not a luxury cell phone or expensive car. We have to pay it we have to keep our house warm,” she said.

But PG&E’s explanation still leaves her cold.

PG&E did point us toward some of its income qualified programs, as well as a home energy check and energy alerts

CARE | FERA | Medical Baseline | Energy Savings Assistance | Reach

Comments (4)
  1. Sean Cerney says:

    You understand our frustration but continue, to rob us? You also claim you rob us for quality work? I live in Folsom and I am seeing quality work all throughout this city with your 62 gas leaks and all.

  2. My PGE bill also doubled and we have solar! We keep our heat at 66 degrees and always have. Our usage wasn’t any different than prior years and our bill also was twice as much as last year. Something is going on with PGE.

  3. There should be a notification to the customer if the price per therm jumps ^28% through the last half of the month…….In prior years, the rate would increase through the 23-31st, meaning there are 9-12 more days of premium therms in these colder months.

    I’d like to see corresponding data from PG&E to assure their production and distribution costs have increased 28% to assure fiduciary responsibility is being carried out.

    Without proper notification to customers and assurance these increases are valid…. this is nothing short of a price gouge!

  4. Heidi Cooper says:

    Medical baseline (increasing Tier One allowance) was added to my account in July and yet my bill continues to climb. Our bill is nearly $500 a month, year round, for two energy conscious adults living in a 1700 sq.ft. house. And now PG&E is threatening us with a “HIGH USAGE SURCHARGE”
    -behold the power of a monopoly!

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