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.