Your utility bill is about to go up if you choose to join an alternative energy provider.
Regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved an exit fee doubling what consumers pay when they opt out of PG&E service. The average residential Marin Clean Energy customer in the Bay Area now pays PG&E $6.70 a month to not use PG&E's power. Beginning on Jan. 1, the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment Exit Fee will go up to $13 for the average customer.
The commission approved the plan despite protests from customers who buy alternative energy under a program known as Community Choice. Richard Gray jumped from PG&E to the one of those programs, Marin Clean Energy.
"This exit fee is an intentional barrier to clean energy. It’s an unjustified extortion by PG&E to cover bad bets that they made in energy costs," Gray said.
But Public Utilities Commissioner Mike Florio said the fees reflect historical costs incurred to kick-start alternative energy when renewables were more expensive. He said it’s not fair to now load those costs onto customers who don’t have the option of switching.