PG&E; Corp.'s electric and gas subsidiary notified California regulators that it wants to raise its electric and gas rates to fund $1.2 billion worth of projects. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. of San Francisco said it will ask the California Public Utilities Commission to approve an electric rate increase to pay for $703 million in projects to improve reliability of its electric service. It is also seeking approval to spend $506 million for upgrading its natural gas distribution and customer service. The utility is seeking an increase in its base electric rate levels as of Jan. 1, 1999. Tom Long, vice president of general rate case projects, said customers' overall electric bills wouldn't be affected because the company would lower other fees to compensate for the higher base rate. The Legislature requires a 10% rate reduction on Jan. 1, 1998. If the gas rate increase is approved by the commission, the company said, a residential customer's average monthly gas bill will increase $10.33 to $48.22.
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