General rate cases (GRCs) are proceedings used to address the costs of operating and maintaining the utility system and the allocation of those costs among customer classes.  For California’s three large investor-owned utilities (IOUs), the GRCs are parsed into two phases. Phase I of a GRC determines the total amount the utility is authorized to collect, while Phase II determines the share of the cost each customer class is responsible and the rate schedules for each class.  Each large electric utility files a GRC application every four years.  For smaller utilities, authorized costs and allocation of costs are done in just one phase.

The CPUC reviews detailed cost data for various areas of utility operations and approves a budget for the first year – called a test year – of the GRC cycle.  For years 2, 3, and 4 – called post-test years – the GRC decision prescribes how to adjust the test year budget for inflation and other factors that may affect costs, such as additional capital projects between test years.  The Commission has put in place regulatory mechanisms to adjust the costs approved in GRCs for unforeseen circumstances.  For example, the Catastrophic Event Memorandum Account allows utilities to record costs for state emergencies declared by the governor.

Watch our video on YouTube that explains what a GRC is and why it's important to consumers.

Click on the links below for more information about each utility’s GRC cycle.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)

Southern California Edison (SCE)

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)

Bear Valley Electric Services (a subsidiary of the Golden State Water Company) 

Liberty (CalPeco)