Although there was similar optimism two weeks earlier, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) signaled Thursday it expects a settlement on "nearly all issues" to be reached Friday in its billion-dollar general rate case. It is perhaps further verification that settlement talks are progressing positively.

PG&E has told the administrative law judge overseeing the case, David Fukutome, that it will submit its next status report on the confidential settlement negotiations next Monday (Oct. 18).

In an e-mail PG&E attorneys indicated that both revenue requirement and other issues covering the 2011-13 period are potentially part of the agreement. A similar e-mail at the end of September had held out hope that a deal may have been announced the beginning of October (see Daily GPI, Sept. 29).

"By calling this [Friday] settlement conference and inviting all parties, PG&E and the active parties are hopeful that they will successfully conclude negotiations and produce a settlement covering very nearly all of these issues," the attorneys for the San Francisco-based combination utility said.

Hearings were held during the summer on PG&E's request to put a $1.1 billion general rate case into effect at the start of next year with smaller interim revenue increases in 2012 ($275 million) and 2013 ($343 million). However, the CPUC's independent consumer unit, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), has argued for a revenue level less than 25% of what the utility asked for in its CPUC filing (see Daily GPI, May 11).

The DRA urged state regulators to grant PG&E no more than a 4.1% ($227 million) rate increase, compared with the utility's proposed 19.7% ($1.1 billion) hike in annual revenues.

Earlier in September the ALJ in PG&E's ongoing transmission pipeline and storage case, in which there is a proposed settlement, issued an order asking the parties to comment on whether the agreement needs to be reexamined in light of the San Bruno incident.

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