Everyone's favorite energy company soon to be on trial for charges relating to the 2010 deadly San Bruno blast, Pacific Gas & Electric, has quietly launched a new campaign to piss off Bay Area residents by doubling the fees associated with ditching PG&E for a greener alternative.
The monthly recurring fee to move from PG&E to, say, CleanPowerSF, is called a Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), reports the San Francisco Chronicle, and in November the energy giant made moves to increase PICA for San Francisco residents by 100.26 percent in a play that John Avalos of the Board of Supervisors claims is designed to discourage customers from switching energy providers.
“The higher fees are really an attempt by PG&E to maintain their monopoly control,” Avalos told the Chronicle. “With 49 square miles, we are a very dense part of the market that PG&E has historically controlled. They are working very desperately to prevent people from wanting to move to CleanPowerSF.”
Supervisor Avalos is not alone in his opposition to the proposed PCIA increase, which would directly impact the financial stability of CleanPowerSF as that program is designed to cover its customers' PCIA costs. State Senator Mark Leno told the paper that he believes PG&E's motivation behind the PCIA increase is clear.
“PG&E has a sordid history of doing whatever it can to kill competition in protection of its monopoly, denying consumers their options and choice," said the Senator. "If we are going to meet our greenhouse gas emission goals, the status quo will not do.”
What does PG&E have to say about all of this? In a letter to the Chronicle, company spokesperson Lynsey Paulo assured everyone that what they really care about is their customers.
“PG&E understands that our customers care about price, and we’re committed to keeping their service affordable."
The proposed increase must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, and is set to be voted on this coming Thursday. If approved, PICA increases would begin January 1.