Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Higher PG&E rates to pay for pipeline safety?

In this Sept. 9, 2010 photo, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. resulting from the explosion of a PG&E pipeline.
In this Sept. 9, 2010 photo, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. resulting from the explosion of a PG&E pipeline. AP

Just days after PG&E went on trial for criminal neglect of pipeline safety, the California Public Utilities Commission will decide this morning how much money the company can charge for its 2015 costs.

The new proposed rate would be an increase of 32 percent compared to 2014 levels, but according to the CPUC, it is 47 percent less than the level requested by PG&E. The commission estimates that if the proposed rate is approved, the average customer would see an increase of 10.7 percent over current gas bills.

The proposals would allocate around $850 million for “safety related improvements ordered as part of the penalties” related to the company’s 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Opponents from The Utility Reform Network blasted the increases, writing in a press release that PG&E’s safety issues were caused by “decision-making that put profits before people.” The network said PG&E should be liable for the safety updates, not taxpayers.

GRANT MONEY: It has been nearly two years since voters passed Proposition 47, and talks about how exactly to spend the money saved from the measure will start today. The Proposition 47 Executive Steering Committee, which will recommend grant guidelines to the Board of State and Community Corrections, will begin a two-day meeting at 9:30 am. The agenda includes a review of the initiative and related legislation, presentations on treatment and community engagement, and a period for public comment.

DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME 22: Senators will be invited to do push-ups on the California Senate floor today to raise awareness for veterans suicide. State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, will kick off the effort by doing 22 push-ups after the session, and plans to continue each day for the next three weeks. The number 22 was chosen based on a widely cited but controversial 2012 United States Department of Veterans Affairs study, which reported that an average of 22 American veterans commit suicide every day.

FINER THINGS: The best wine, cheese, olive oil and craft beer entries from the 2016 California State Fair will be honored on the West Steps of the Capitol at 10 am. Golden Bear trophies will be presented to the winners by several legislators, including state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, the chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production and Emerging Products. If you’re interested in purchasing an award-winning bottle of wine for yourself, you can peruse the Bee’s comprehensive database of this year’s State Fair wine awardees.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs

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