SAN FRANCISCO -- Typical PG&E customers will welcome the new year with a nearly 3 percent increase that will add up to an extra $3.38 a month in their natural gas and electricity costs.
The higher rates were approved through a series of decisions by federal and state regulators over the past year and apply to 5.4 million residential customers and 800,000 businesses -- affecting a total of about 15 million people in Northern and Southern California, according to PG&E spokesman Jonathan Marshall.
A typical residential gas customer who uses 37 therms would see a monthly bill of $43.03 rise by $3.15, or 7.3 percent, beginning Wednesday.
The monthly bill for a typical electric customer using 500 kilowatts of energy would go up 23 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $77.79 starting Wednesday.
Together, the combined natural gas and electricity bill for a typical customer would total $123.97 a month.
PG&E said the increases will help pay for higher wholesale energy costs, along with maintenance and upgrades.
On top of the increases that go into effect New Year's Day, PG&E this month requested a 12.6 percent rate increase for residential and natural gas customers that would take effect in 2015, if approved.
After the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion and fire, critics have blasted PG&E's rate increases and accused the utility of burdening customers for PG&E's failure to adequately maintain its pipelines.
Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.