SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E is providing significant assistance with electric rates to 10 California employers so they can keep, expand or launch new operations in California rather than leave the state. In just over four months, the utility’s new Economic Development Rate, which was approved by state regulators this spring at PG&E’s request, has already saved or potentially added a total of 861 jobs in the state.
The new rate targets manufacturers and other companies — with power loads of at least 200 kilowatts — that would otherwise shut down or locate operations out of state. The rate provides a 12 percent rate reduction for five years for employers who attest that they need it to stay, site new operations, or expand existing facilities in California. (Eligibility is determined by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.)
To address the more acute challenges faced by cities and counties in PG&E’s service area with unemployment rates at least 25 percent higher than the state average, the utility offers a bigger rate reduction of 30 percent for five years.
The rate also benefits all other PG&E customers by making more revenues available to cover the utility’s fixed costs.
“As a major supplier to California businesses, PG&E is committed to helping create and retain jobs in our communities by offering appropriate incentives that will enhance our state’s competitiveness and energize its economy,” said PG&E President Chris Johns. “Our new economic development rate goes hand in hand with other initiatives we have launched to boost economic vitality in the communities we serve.”
California businesses now receiving the Economic Development Rate include manufacturers of food, packaging, plastic films, wood fuel pellets, ceiling shingles and surgical supplies. They range across PG&E’s service area, from Humboldt County to the San Joaquin Valley. Five of the companies are using the rate to bring new jobs to California, boosting the state’s economy.
JM Eagle, a pipe manufacturer based in Stockton, decided to keep 104 local jobs in its facility, with the potential for growing to 170 in the near future, after qualifying for PG&E’s new rate. Amy’s Kitchen is taking advantage of the Economic Development Rate to justify building a new food processing facility in Santa Rosa, which will add about 150 jobs. And moving into Petaluma with help from PG&E’s new rate is Synergy Health, a medical device manufacturer.
“The PG&E Economic Development Rate incentive was the key factor in helping two different companies decide to invest as much as $25 million in manufacturing expansion in Sonoma County, resulting in over 200 new jobs,” said Carolyn Stark, executive director of Sonoma County BEST, a public-private partnership devoted to economic development and job creation.
PG&E’s proposal to support job creation was drafted in consultation with several local government leaders. It received unprecedented support from a coalition of 31 cities and 10 counties in Northern and Central California.
Information on the rate plan and other economic development services at PG&E is available at www.pge.com/economicdevelopment.