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PG&E to hike up customer rates by about $8.73 a month starting March 1

According to PG&E, the utility company needs to increase rates to invest in its electrical system against climate risks and to improve its power shutoff program.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — PG&E customers may see slightly higher utility bills soon as the utility company hikes up rates, citing the need to harden its electrical grid to prevent wildfires. 

The average use rate increase begins on March 1, which would increase residential gas and electricity by $8.73 a month or about 4.6%, according to the company. Energy usage and other factors could also impact PG&E's customers' bill.

According to PG&E, the utility company needs to invest in its electrical system against climate risks, increase vegetation management, get more technology to monitor fire-danger weather and improve its power shutoff program.

This week Sonoma County prosecutors served PG&E a search warrant to investigate the company's role in sparking the 2019 Kincade Fire. In a reversal of the company's previous statements, a PG&E vice president said on-camera Tuesday that a PG&E power line started the 2019 Kincade Fire, which injured four people and destroyed hundreds of homes in Sonoma County. 

PG&E pleaded guilty in 2020 to 84 felony counts of manslaughter and one felony for sparking the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed those people in and around the town of Paradise. Bill Johnson, PG&E's CEO at the time, admitted that PG&E's electrical grid ignited that fire.

WATCH MORE: California's largest power company guilty for deadly crime

As California’s wildfires continue to break records due to overgrown forests and climate change, the state faces another crisis. The biggest power company is a convicted felon with a tendency to spark new fires. PG&E is guilty of America’s largest corporate manslaughter case. Experts say PG&E has avoided accountability for its crimes and worried the power company will kill again. But how did we get here? Can anyone force PG&E to be safer?