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State PUC approves refund to PG&E customers

$424-million overcharge result of falling energy prices so far this year

The California Public Utilities Commission Thursday approved a refund of hundreds of millions of dollars to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers after collecting more money than it needed to pay for the cost of electricity.

The CPUC approved a refund of $424.4 million to PG&E customers during the commission's meeting in the auditorium of the State Building in San Francisco. The refund was approved by a 5-0 vote.

PG&E requested that the refund be issued to customers after determining that its Energy Resource Recovery Account had over-collected from customers because energy costs this year were lower than what was expected when rates were set by the commission a year ago.

Customers affected by the inflated rates will receive an average refund of about $35 in the November/December billing cycle, although some customers may receive refunds of hundreds of dollars, commission officials said.

The CPUC sets electricity rates for PG&E, and because energy prices continue to be low, the commission said it will establish the expected cost for next year at a level that will ensure that the company will collect no more than the total needed to pay for the electricity.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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