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PG&E saving $450M annually in taxes but you wont see a dime
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PG&E wants to pass on its expected annual federal tax savings to its nearly 16 million customers including those in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.
You aren’t likely, however, to see a cent of the $450 million PG&E expects to save under the new tax law passed by Congress in December.
That’s not entirely bad news, though.
PG&E wants to use the savings to offset expected rate increases.
The for-profit power provider filed three separate rate filing requests Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission.
Besides asking to use the tax savings to offset future rate increases, PG&E has asked for $183 million from ratepayers for safely restoring powering for fire and storm declared emergencies in 2016 and 2017.
The filing also includes $405 million for completed work to prune, cut back, or remove dead trees that was needed to deal with drought conditions and bark beetle infestation in 2016 and 2017 as well.
They are also requesting $555 million for work to remove dead trees and efforts to reduce fire risk during 2018 and 2019.
Wildfires in 2016 and 2017 as well as major storms caused power outrages to 2.5 million PG&E customers. The events also destroyed or damaged almost 17,000 pieces of PG&E electrical system equipment such as poles, transformers and wires.
The filings do not include expenses that PG&E incurred during the massive October 2017 fires centered primarily in Napa and Sonoma counties. Fires in the PG&E service area caused $9.4 billion in damages, killed 44 people, and destroyed 8,900 buildings.
Although blame has yet to be assigned, preliminary findings by fire investigators have attributed some of the 250 fires that month to downed power poles.
PG&E has taken steps to start saving money for litigation given a number of lawsuits have already been field against the company. They have suspended dividends and stopped almost all corporate donations to brace for potential settlements.
“We’ve committed to making sure that the changes to the federal tax law benefit our customers. PG&E has proposed that the savings from the federal tax law changes be used to offset currently approved or anticipated rate increases to stabilize customers’ rates and bills,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E vice president of Regulatory Affairs in a news release.
In the past five years, weather impacting PG&E’s service area has been record-setting and extreme. The effects of weather-driven events on the company’s electric and gas infrastructure have been more significant and costly to repair. 
PG&E’s enhanced vegetation management work to prune or remove dead or dying trees began in 2014. At that time, the CPUC directed PG&E to take measures to reduce fire risk due to the declared drought emergency and allowed the company to request cost recovery outside of the General Rate Case where the company recovers the costs of its routine vegetation management work. Even though the drought emergency ended last year, the declaration directed the state to continue activities to manage the lingering drought impacts. PG&E continues its vegetation work to comply with the declaration and the state Tree Mortality Emergency. 
PG&E also noted they expect to see an additional $125 million annually in federal tax savings from other pending rate cases.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email