SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Pacific Gas and Electric officials say its insurance rates are going up and those costs could increase customer bills.
The company says its liability insurance costs have increased 140 percent since the fires last October. More than 200 lawsuits blame PG&E for those fires with a potential liability of as much as $17 billion.
PG&E estimates the cost increase could raise customer bills by as much as $150 per year.
“It is a long-standing principle of utility law that – when a utility makes mistakes as PG&E did – it’s shareholders, not consumers, they should pick up the tab,” said Mindy Spatt with the Utility Reform Network.
PG&E says the insurance increases are due to the increased wildfire risk in California.
The utility is now asking for help from the legislature to offset the costs. Officials say, without help, customers could see up to $2 billion in annual rate increases due to higher financing costs and insurance premiums.
Any rate hikes will have to be approved by regulators.