The following is a copy of a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission:
We have been residential customers of PG&E in California for three decades, and usually have been satisfied with the company’s service. However, recent news that, for the first time in the company’s history, PG&E is asking the PUC for permission to initiate a monthly utility “service charge,” separate from and in addition to normal monthly charges for actual energy used, rubs us the wrong way.
PG&E is 109 years old this year, having begun in 1905. The company also requests that the charge begins at $5 per month, then increase to $10 after a year or two, and then be raised multiple times and unspecified amounts into the indefinite future, automatically, as it were, keyed to increases in the Consumer Price Index.
To link service charge increases to the CPI is unjust, circular false reasoning, since charges by companies and corporations to their customers, as well as increases in these charges, are what constitute the CPI!
As you know, the PUC’s mission is to protect the public interest, keeping utility charges as low as possible. Any such “automatic” increases would defeat the ongoing regulatory process the PUC was established to carry out, since the company would no longer have to apply to you each time it desired an increase!
Initiating a monthly service charge would provide a gratuitous windfall inverse spike for PG&E at customers’ expense. It also would be an entirely unwarranted charge for providing exactly the same service the company already is providing, and has been providing in California for more than 100 years.
Please continue the present existing rate structure, and application process, with no monthly service charge.