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Utilities should do all
they can to grow solar

Re. “PG&E: $9B to $13.5B to bury power lines,” Page A1, and “PG& E bills are set to jump again this year,” Page C7, Feb. 11:

Two articles in Friday’s paper caught my eye regarding PG&E’s plans to increase rates again in 2022, totaling over 20% this year alone. Justification for these latest increases are wholesale prices of natural gas, which PG&E uses to generate electricity in their gas-fired power plants. They also pass along these increases to homeowners using natural gas to heat their homes and cook food. (The gas portion of my latest bill from PG&E was double what I paid per therm last year.)

I have a proposal for PG&E: Rather than fighting the rooftop solar people who provide cheap, clean electricity to the grid, stop buying expensive natural gas to fuel their electricity generators. That would reduce the demand and hopefully reduce prices for everyone. PG&E should not be part of the problem, they should be part of the solution. Embrace solar power, reduce the burning of natural gas to produce electricity.

Michael Caine
El Sobrante

PG&E is acting on
natural gas price surge

PG&E is hearing from customers that energy bills are higher than normal. We understand increases are challenging. We’re taking action and here to help.

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Natural gas prices have risen significantly, about 90% higher than last winter in PG&E’s service area and nationwide. PG&E passes through the cost of energy purchases directly to customers and does not mark-up that cost.

PG&E reduces gas price volatility impacts by buying and storing gas when prices are lower for use when prices are higher.

More than 70% of winter energy costs are from heating systems, water heaters, and washers and dryers.

• Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, health permitting. Save 2% for each degree it’s lowered.

• Clean or replace air filters monthly.

• Set the water heater to 120 degrees or lower; install low-flow fixtures; wash clothes in cold water.

As the weather warms up, energy usage and bills should decrease. For more tips, go to

Aaron Johnson
Regional vice president, PG&E Bay Region

No time to relax mask
rules as cases stay high

Re. “Most of Bay Area will ease mask rule,” Page A1, Feb. 10:

Last fall, the Bay Area established the following metrics for when masks would no longer be required indoors in public for vaccinated individuals: at least three consecutive weeks in the CDC’s “moderate” tier for COVID transmission rates, low and stable hospitalization rates, and either 80% of the population vaccinated or eight weeks after kids age 5 or older could get vaccinated. We have met only one of those requirements.

We may be on the downslope of the omicron surge, but rates are still very high. Santa Clara County is doing the right thing by keeping masking requirements in place at this time. The rest of the Bay Area counties are betraying public trust and acting incredibly irresponsibly by removing them.

Sarah Burns

NASA’s turkey problem
could be win for hungry

In the article “Flock of turkeys spurs havoc at the NASA Ames Center; feds hoping to relocate them,” (Page B1, Feb. 10) a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife noted, “In general, wild turkeys aren’t something we actively manage.”

This is surprising since this agency brought turkeys to California in the 20th century as a game bird. Their numbers have increased dramatically and their territory now covers over a quarter of the state. Turkeys have wide-ranging appetites and can be aggressive toward people and property. There are also concerns about turkeys threatening local ecosystems, where they have no natural predators.

I question the plan to trap and move these birds from the NASA center to another location, rather than taking steps to control them in many locations where they have become serious pests. This could be an opportunity to use the turkeys to feed people in need.

Katherine Greenberg

Lowering pot tax
would help protect kids

Dr. Lynn Silver has it wrong in her article about lowering cannabis taxes putting kids at risk (“Cannabis conundrum: Protect youth or corporate profits?” Page A6, Feb. 11).

Lowering taxes is really about legal pot versus the illegal stuff. Over half of the pot sold in California is illegal and part of the reason is that it’s cheaper than the legal, taxed stuff.

There are a couple of other issues here. One, as she mentions, is that 43% of Californians live in a city or county where legal pot is not available. Illegal pot is available everywhere.

Two, legal pot is only available to people 21 and older. Illegal pot is available to everyone no matter their age.

To protect our youth, we must get rid of illegal pot. To do that we must make legal pot’s pricing more competitive and make it more available. That’s why taxes on it need to be lowered.

Mike Kuller, R.Ph.
Walnut Creek