California: Millions of small users will avoid rate hike : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Millions of small users will avoid rate hike

The largest single increase in electricity prices in California history will brush by an estimated 8 million Californians, the state Public Utilities Commission predicts.

Those who will escape the increases, which will average 40 percent, are those whose power use stays under a state-set "baseline" amount of kilowatt hours. That is the amount of power that state regulators figure the average household uses in a month, based on season, climatic area and other factors.

Hearings will be held in April to determine how the new "tiered" rate system will be implemented. Once approved, charges are expected to be applied retroactively to March 27 and appear on bills sent in May.

Also escaping the price hikes are customers of municipal power authorities such as residents of Los Angeles, Sacramento, Palo Alto and Santa Clara.

Under Tuesday's PUC action, residential customers who do not exceed 130 percent of their baseline would escape the higher rates. Use double your baseline and you'll see about a 9 percent increase in your bill. More than double will result in a 36 percent hike.

Of course, there are other charges tacked on to all bills. The PUC's action keeps those in place. When all is added together, the average residential rate will rise to 15.05 cents per kilowatt hour, the PUC says.

Businesses do not get a baseline amount and would see bills increase between 22 percent and 41 percent, depending on the amount of power consumed.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 28, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ