Listen! Peace for Israel and Palestine
I-80 Whistleblower: Caltrans Steamrolls Eviro-Laws to Widen Freeways

Think PG&E Rates Are Too High? They Are in Imminent Danger of Skyrocketing Into the Stratosphere

By Dan Cornford

Davisites should be aware of what I was not aware of until a week or so ago.  Your PG & E bills are set to go way up and proposals are being made to further dis-incentivize solar power.  We are about to be a hit with a barrage of proposals that took me some time to disentangle.   PG & E and other major utilities are hitting consumers from three different angles.  In two instance the CPUC will likely make a final decision on proposals at its November 2 meeting.  So, if you share my concern, please read this article and take some of the actions I suggest at the end of it—most will take only a few minutes of your time.

I am sure I need not regale you with info on PG & E moral and legal culpability for a whole series of recent fires going back to 2017, but PG & E culpability for such events ( read the entry on PG & E in Wikipedia) goes back decades not to mention the San Bruno pipeline explosions of 2010 that killed 8 people and injured 58.

After the rash of major fires, 2017-2022 and findings of PG & E’s legal culpability, there appeared to be some brief prospect of meaningful state intervention by Governor Newsom and the state legislature as PG & faced the prospect of bankruptcy and our governor threatened a public takeover of PG & E.   But this came to nothing, and unsurprisingly in view of the fact that PG & E has regularly made large donations to the campaigns of Governor Newsom and many others in the state legislature.

Nevertheless, California consumers might have expected some respite from endless utility rate hikes in the wake of the major fires.  Instead, it seems that the priority of Newsom and most of the state legislature was to bail out PG & E at all costs, and in various ways.  For example, in 2022 PG & E was granted a 9% general rate increase.  In addition, the CPUC (members appointed by governors Brown and Newsom) caved when under pressure from PG & E and other major California utilities they swept aside NEM 2.0 in November 2022,and replaced it with NEM 3.0.   The effect of this was to dramatically cut the rate of reimbursement that solar homeowners got from sending their solar power surplus back to the grid.  By some estimates this will reduce the rate of home solar installation by from 50-75%.

At almost the same time PG & E and its brothers in arms secured the passage of the Utility Tax (AB 205) as a trailer bill in the summer 2022 session of the legislature.  This bill will raise utility rates for most Californians by from $350 to $800 a year regardless of their usage.  The full story of how this “shadow” bill passed is documented in an excellent Op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle by consumer attorney Alexis Wodtke entitled “Why Your Utility Bills Could be About to Skyrocket in California.”

The Solar Rights Alliance and many other California consumer organizations have launched a major drive to repeal this law which will come into effect in the summer of 2024.  For further details go to:

On another front PG & E has proposed a four year General Rate increase which will raise rates for most consumers by 40-60% over four years.  As one Davis activist wrote on Nextdoor: “PG&E has filed a four year General Rate Case for another 18% increase in electric and gas rates in 2023 and continued escalations through 2026 to get to an increase of 39.25% and 56.9% in electricity and gas rates, respectively, over 2021 rates. (1) From the funds generated, $12.8 billion will be for new investments, chief of which will be undergrounding the first 3,600 miles of a goal of 10,000 miles of buried power lines. The four year plan will not cover future inflation in prices for gas, electricity, their transmission nor will it cover state mandated expenditures for low income customers and energy efficiency mandates.”

The justification for this increase is that PG & E needs the money to underground a portion of its power lines. Several points need to be made here: 1)  PG & E should have done this out of capital expenditures a long time ago; 2)  At the present rate that it is undergrounding it will take PG & E 143 years to partially underground its wires; 3)  Many argue that PG & E’s safety goal could be accomplished much more cheaply and faster by better insulating its wiring. There is currently a petition at which will be submitted to the CPUC before they meet on this issue on November 2, 2023.

Finally, there is a campaign to stop the CPUC and Governor Newsom from limiting the benefits and incentives for solar energy for renters (apartment buildings), farmers, and schools.  Here are the details of the proposal which will be adjudicated by the CPUC on November 2, 2023—less than two weeks from now!!!   Again, this information comes from the Solar Rights Alliance:


  1. There are limits to what can be accomplished by making a public comments on the CPUC’s website in view of the fact in the words of one source the CPUC is a revolving door between itself and the energy industry:

That said, it is still worth making a comment (as indeed I did).  To do so you will need a docket number.  To comment on the Utility Tax, R2207005 at this link: and to comment on the proposed Generate Rate increase, Docket No. A2106021.

  1. As mentioned above re the General Rate increase sign the petition at

  1. Call Governor Newsom (916) 445-2841, and our state representatives Senator Bill Dodd  (916)  651-4003, and Rep. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry  (916) 319-2004.  Please do it this week as the decision on two of the above issues will be made by the CPUC on November 2.   I did it, and it took me just a few minutes with each call to register my complaint.
  1. It’s never too late to submit a letter or even an Op-ed to the Davis Enterprise. As I say above, one of the measures has passed and a repeal campaign is underway, and it is not impossible to repeal the other measures if approved by the CPUC on November 2.  Furthermore, we need to let Newsom and the state Democratic dominated state legislature that our support and votes cannot be taken for granted!


  1. Urge California consumer organizations to put a measure on the ballot to acquire PG & E (and perhaps other large private utilities), but PG & E is the worst villain based on recent history. Seems impossible. In Maine they did this and the measure will appear on the November 2023 ballot. And, if there is a move in this direction, help to gather signatures and donate to the campaign.  Remember Proposition 103 which passed in 1988?  It has drastically and effectively slowed the increase in car insurance rates, and in the ballot campaign, the proponents were outspent 20-1
  1. Put a measure on the ballot, if not, in the above, to have the CPUC publicly elected.
  1. If not in the above, a measure to roll back permanently and significantly private utility rate increases of the past five years or so.

In conclusion, the above rate increase and measures stand to literally impoverish tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Californians and generously reward companies such as PG & E for a multitude of sins that have led to the death and injury of many people and the loss of many homes. It’s up to us to stop this as, not the first time, we cannot count on Governor Newsom or the Democratic party super majority in the state legislature.


Ron O

Looking at the video link in the referenced article reinforces my view that Newsom is a sack-of-(fill in the blank), with the arrogance of someone who knows he's politically-safe in California. In contrast, Governor Brown did not seem to possess this same level of arrogance.

As far as PG&E is concerned, I believe that this problem ultimately results from PG&E being forced to charge the same rates "for everyone" - regardless of the increased costs to serve higher-risk areas.

Insurance companies are no longer going along with this, which is the reason that some major companies have abandoned the state altogether, or are no longer offering insurance in higher-risk areas. Thereby forcing those purchasing homes in higher-risk areas to purchase the exceedingly-expensive "state plan". (The state insurance commissioner limits increases for insurance premiums, which set up a "show-down" between the state vs. insurance companies.)

Needless to say, those trying to sell homes in higher-risk areas (as well as real estate agents) are not happy about this. But so far, housing prices in these higher risk areas have not sufficiently dropped to reflect this increased cost.


It wasn't all that long ago that the citizens of Davis voted to keep PG&E and NOT move to SMUD.

We had a chance. And we wasted it. What is happening now is no surprise, but the majority of Davis voters agreed with the $millions spent by PG&E to convince us that our lives would be destroyed if we moved to SMUD.


Your post is not correct. Davis voted overwhelmingly to join SMUD, around 78% I believe. It was the rest of the county that fell for the PG&E pitch. Also, the politicians refused to place the DMUD initiative on the ballot. DMUD is the best path forward.

Alan C. Miller

DDD-- I didn't research, but my recollection is that SMUD customers in Sac County had to approve as well, and PG&E went on an evil disinformation rampage spending millions to make sure they killed it. I am less sure, but I believe Davis voters approved the merger, no?

Whatever the history, we must stop Gavin from becoming President. PG&E Gavin or January 6th Donald . . . What a choice!

Dianne Tobias

If memory serves, Davis voted to go with SMUD but Sac needed to and didn’t. Wasn’t that true?

Dan Cornford

Darrell, you are factually incorrect. The voters of Yolo County APRROVED joining SMUD in 2006 by a 55% majority. It was the voters of Sacramento that rejected our joining--after PG & E threw 9 million into the race to stop us joining.


Thanks for the firm yet polite corrections, everybody. I apologize for having gotten that salient point incorrect. :-(. Ouch, my aging mind! The good news is that my faith in the citizens of Davis can now be repaired and restored somewhat.

Do we have ANY way of fixing this moving forward? What's odd to me is that most folks I hear from are putting all effort into simply staving off the NEXT massive increase. But as noted in this essay that we're commenting on.... we need to roll back so much of the disaster that we already have! Even if we freeze things right here, we're still in a pretty big hole.

I have a few more months of "grace" and then my PV system that generates more energy than I consume will need to be augmented by paying PG&E thousand$ more per year.

Tuvia ben Olam, operating as Todd Edelman

P, G $ E
Adapted from The Jackson 5’s “ABC”.
(play / right click the lipsync’d American Bandstand video - as you read the lyrics!)

by Todd Edelman
(Written Day after Thanksgiving, 2018, updated subsequently)

Before you went to school you were burned, girl
A thing you never thought about before
Hey "G" before "E" both after "P"
Sh*t ton of victims, rich and poor
Now, now, now
I'm gonna teach you
(Teach you, teach you)
All about pain, girl
(All about pain)
Sit yourself down, in your tree
All you gotta do is repeat after me

P, G $ E
A sleazy utility
Because heat is not free
P, G $ E, burn the tree
and you or me, girl
P, G $ E
As sleazy as it can be
Not simple like, “Don’t blame me”?
P, G $ E
Or no AC
For babies, or you or me, girl

Come on and burn me just a little bit
Come on and burn me just a little bit
Especially where it’s hard to put it out
Come on, come on, come on
Profit is what it's all about
Screaming, running, choking
By the branches of the burning tree
Burn down to the roots of love everyday girl
Our shareholders feel complete
Is the C.P.U.C. gonna show you
(is gonna show you?)
How to dig a grave (na-na-na-naaaaaa)?
How to spell "die”, "you", add the two?
Listen to me, baby
That's all you gotta do

P, G $ E
A sleazy utility
Because energy is not free
P, G $ E and our complicity
Burn babies, you and me, girl

No time for counting up to 3
Singe your favorite tree
Destroy your family’s memories
That's how easy death can be
A burning shingle’s melody
P, G $ E
You and me

Sleep now girl,
I think I’ll kill you
No, get up girl
Show me what you can lose
Bake it, bake it baby, come on now
bake it, bake it baby, oooh, oooh
bake it, bake it baby, yeah
P, G $ E baby, oooh oooh
P, G $ E baby, ah, ah
Do re mi baby, oww!
That's how easy death can be
P, G $ E it's easy
No time for counting up to 3
Melt a family’s SUV
That's how easy death can be
Is the C. P. U. C. gonna teach you
How to put it out?
Come-a, come-a, come-a
F*cking profit’s what's it's all about
P, G $ E it's easy
Not time for counting up to 3
Burn all your favorite trees
That's how easy death can be

CalFire agrees that they f*cked up
Singe it, singe it, singe it
Let me tell you what it’s all about
P, G $ E it's sleazy
It’s time to burn your family tree
Profiting from misery
That's how easy death can be

Is the C.P.U.C. gonna agree to break it up?


Thanks for the informative article and helpful links. I had heard of two of these items (NEM changes and income-based utility tax) but had not seen any updates on either one recently.
AB 205 needs to be repealed either by legislative action, the courts or a statewide ballot proposition. Same with the changes to net energy metering. We also need to take away the PUC’s ability to increase rates and create an elected statewide utility commissioner through a ballot measure like was passed for the insurance industry years ago. I doubt we could roll back rates, but capping them now and then tying future increases to a CPI would be a start.
I do not support state acquisition of PG&E. That is a company with significant deferred maintenance and potentially massive future liabilities that us taxpayers should avoid. I would prefer breaking PG&E up into smaller regional utilities where municipalities (cities or counties) could have the first option to purchase the infrastructure in their jurisdictions, with any remaining unsold pieces operating as privately owned utilities. The rates set for each regional utility should be based on providing service to its customers. SMUD and Roseville Electric keep their rates low because they don’t have to maintain thousands of miles of infrastructure to serve a relatively small number of customers, they aren’t paying a CEO and executives $Millions and their citizens are in essence shareholders. Davis could form a city-owned electric utility much like Roseville and others. Or Yolo County could form a public electric utility similar to SMUD. I doubt we will ever convince the voters in SMUD region to allow Yolo to join their service area.


From the link Dan provided:

"This is round one in a two-, three- or five-round fight," Souza said.

"Sacramento took 25 years to break free from PG&E and create its own municipal utility. I don't know if it will take that long here in Yolo County, but I promise we will become our own municipal utility or become part of another municipal utility someday," he said.

Hmmm. round one was a long while back. When is round two?


Darell stated:
"I have a few more months of "grace" and then my PV system that generates more energy than I consume will need to be augmented by paying PG&E thousand$ more per year."

I recently had solar installed on my roof before the deadline for NEM II and like Darrel am now also generating more energy than I use. Basically PG&E is buying my excess KWH's for a few pennies and charging much higher costs for others to use. So now we might now be taxed up to $70/month? I thought we were supposed to be promoting people to go solar. What a scam, they will get you one way or another.



I feel your pain. My pain is a bit different, and not about any excess that I generate.

Now that we're past the NEM3 deadline, and my system is "timed out" it isn't my *excess* generation that's the problem. It is ALL generation that I'm not able to use in real time. I'm paid almost nothing for the kWhs that I generate, and that energy is then sold to my neighbors (and back to me!) at an insanely high rate. All of it. The the adoption of NEM3, the value of my system dropped somewhere between 70-80%.

The only way I could have avoided this for the next 20 was was to remove my perfectly-functioning system, throw it away, and build a new system to have approved before April of this year (to be grandfathered into NEM2.)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)