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PG&E Utility to Seek $654 Million Rate Increase

With an emphasis on its electric utility operations, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. notified the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Monday that it intends to file for a $654 million rate increase later this year to be effective in 2007.

The rate hike by the PG&E Corp. utility would be to cover proposed upgrades of its natural gas and electric infrastructure covering central and northern California.

The utility said it expects to apply to the CPUC for $485 million of new revenue for its electric distribution system; a $94 million increase for natural gas operations, and $75 million for investments in generation plants. PG&E's utility will file its main application on Dec. 1, and it expects the CPUC to hold public hearings and take testimony next year with a decision by the end of 2006.

"The rate increase is needed to replace aging infrastructure, meet rising demand for gas and electricity, recruit/train new employees, and upgrade power plants," the utility said in an alert to news media on its notice to the CPUC.

The proposed rate increase would be 1.6%, or $1.03/month, for average electric customers, and 2.8%, or $1.44/month, for average natural gas customers.

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