Intimidating Upfront Costs: Zoom in on California

This entry was posted in Blog on by .


Despite all of the progress in 2013 to provide our country with easy and affordable energy conserving measures, there are some setbacks as we enter 2104. Out in California, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) increased its rates on the first of this year. The increased 2014 rates will pay for higher wholesale energy purchases. These will maintain and modernize PG&E to help the company reach higher safety and reliability standards.

Customers of PG&E will experience about a 2.8% increase in their combined natural gas and electric bills (about a $3.38 total increase in the combined bills). This increase reflects the higher forecasts for buying electricity in 2014. The prices are expected to increase, including for renewable energy, in order to meet state mandates.

PG&E continues its efforts to move toward efficient energy, and expects to bring about 1,200 MW of power from renewable energy projects in 2014. In 2013, the company successfully added 1,400 MW of renewable energy and looks to continue to increase the use of energy efficient techniques. Every bit of renewable energy adds up.

PG&E’s rates for homeowners’ gas are expected to increase by 7.3% in January alone. More than half of this increase is a result of the projected market prices for gas. Other factors include the rising cost to maintain and improve PG&E’s gas infrastructure, including pipelines and storage. This increase also stems from the cost of required social programs to promote energy efficiency and to offer discounts for low-income customers.

Although rates are rising, PG&E is making an effort to keep these rates affordable while maintaining safety and reliable service throughout the company. Unlike many companies who use inflation to boost their rates beyond what is necessary, PG&E’s rates have remained in line with inflation.

Many companies may be increasing their rates in the upcoming year, but this increase is well worth it if the investments are going towards energy efficient measures. PG&E prides itself on the effort to offer clean energy to customers. This company strives to continue to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its delivered electricity. The latest inventory report from The Climate Registry places PG&E as one of the cleanest utilities in the industry.

PG&E invests in renewable and hydro electricity, which help reduce their environmental impact. Back in 2011, PG&E reached a milestone where over half of their power came from a combination of non-greenhouse gas emitting and renewable energy sources.

This company is just one example of many companies nationwide working to make our lifestyle more energy efficient. Although the upfront cost of energy conservation seems like more than any regular measure, energy efficient investments pay off. For example, you pay an upfront cost to insulate your home, but you make that back in money saved on your heating bills, while reducing your environmental impact. Do what you can to invest in our country’s energy efficient future.