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BAY AREA, CA — Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, says his staff is looking into why some PG&E customers have recently reported higher than normal bills.

Customers in the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley have reported that their gas and electric bills went up significantly during the past winter months, Hill said this week.

“My office is looking into the reports of spikes in utility bills,” Hill said in a statement. “The most important thing consumers can do right now is to take a hard look at their bills and their power usage-comparing recent month over month and year to year.”

“We have seen an increase in customers concerned in these past few weeks,” PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras told Bay City News, adding that the higher than normal bills are most likely a result of two recent hike rates and increased energy use during the winter months.

“Our rates have increased by 21 percent since last year,” she said, citing a rate increase in August for gas transportation and storage and another increase in January. “Customers are probably now seeing that because they’re using gas more often, especially during this wet, damp and dark season.”

PG&E did let customers know about the rate increases by mail and by phone calls, Contreras said.