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PG&E Earnings Triple, But Where Will The Money Go?

COLFAX (CBS13) — Pacific Gas and Electric's first-quarter earnings for 2022 tripled last year's, leaving the biggest utility company in California with more than $475 million in profits, but where will that money go?

PG&E customers in Colfax recovering from last summer's River Fire are asking the utility to use the money to put powerlines underground—and fast.

While the River Fire closed gas stations and grocery stores, Colfax Market stayed open. For 22 years, Paul Raj has owned the small-town store.

"This town needs somebody to provide some groceries," he said.

Fire officials previously confirmed that the River Fire was human-caused, but Raj is concerned future fires could be caused by something else: powerlines.

PG&E announced Thursday they earned $475 million in the first quarter of 2022, tripling last year's earnings, in part, from increased customer bills.

"Well, this is not right," Raj said.

His bill went up $200 a month. He hopes the extra money is at least put to good use.

"It's tough to keep up nowadays," he said. "They need to speed up their service."

So where will that money go? PG&E wouldn't answer specifically, directing us to a recorded earnings meeting with CEO Patti Poppe.

"We actually have a new saying around here: How do you rebuild PG&E? From the underground up," Poppe said in the meeting. "And we're on our way."

We watched the meeting in full, and PG&E promised a push toward underground powerlines but didn't say if the added earnings would be used for that project.

According to Poppe, "2022 is an important and exciting year to learn from experience in our field on under-grounding our lines."

Colfax residents have seen PG&E trucks working on burying lines but are concerned the process is taking too long.

"We would like to see extra help from them in the times we're not burning," resident Chase Hofer said.

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