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Groups protest PG&E rate hike in San Francisco

Several groups rallied outside of the California State Government Office in San Francisco Wednesday. They protested the newest rate hike request from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).

Among the protesters was former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“It’s a whole host of organizations standing together to say, our rates are too damned high. PG&E is trying to tell us they need higher rates to pay for safety,” he said.

Liccardo is now with a group called FAIR California. It bills itself as a coalition of organizations aimed at making PG&E accountable to rate payers and the public.

According to public rate payer information, PG&E rates have gone up 38% from January 2021 to September 2023. Now, PG&E is asking state regulators to increase the rate over the next four years.

Rita Saenz, a representative from AARP, says such sharp hikes would severely impact people on fixed incomes like retirees.

“It is unbelievable that we are facing double digit rate increases in energy bills that are already the second highest in the country,” she said.

In a series of commercials, PG&E says it needs the money to bury powerlines to avoid future wildfires.

Critics like the Utility Reform Network have argued to state regulators that insulating overhead powerlines could be just as effective as burying them.

The California Public Utilities Commission hearing, where PG&E will be asking for its rate hike, is scheduled for Thursday.

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