Utility Rates Overview

As a City of Palo Alto community member, you should understand:      

  • Value - What you get for what you spend
  • Rates Changes this year (See below for current rates) 
  • Supplies - Sources and their status
  • Infrastructure - Condition and planned improvements

    Value - Compare the cost of your utilities to the other things (coffee? newspaper? internet service?) you spend money on daily. It's clear your utilities are a good deal! Examples provided below are based on current rates.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) evaluates rates on an annual basis, typically in line with the City's fiscal year schedule, which runs from July 1 through June 30. Information on current rates is provided below. CPAU will post information on adjustments to this year's rates as information becomes available. Stay updated on important matters such as rates, programs, rebates and workshops by signing up to receive our eNewsletters or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.

Your Current Utility Rates

Proposed Utility Rate Adjustments That Would Become Effective July 1, 2016

Utility Resources Supply Information

Electricity - Palo Alto gets its electricity from several sources. While the exact numbers from each source vary annually, the important point is that Palo Alto achieved an “all green” carbon-neutral electric supply portfolio effective January 2013.

Gas - The City uses a
"market-based" purchase strategy. This means that gas rates change every month based on market prices.

Water - Palo Altans are fortunate to get water from the Hetch-Hetchy system, one of the most pristine, high-quality sources in the country. But like all Californians, we have to face the statewide problem of not having enough water to meet ever-growing needs---a problem that is not going away. Recurring drought cycles are a permanent feature of water supply in this state.

  • Drought Update - The State has mandated that Palo Alto reduce water use 24% compared to 2013 water usage levels. The reduction for Palo Alto will be measured between the time period of June 1, 2015 through February 28, 2016. Water use restrictions are currently in effect in Palo Alto.
  • We need everyone to do their part to help us save water! Visit our water page at cityofpaloalto.org/water for details on drought conditions, current water use restrictions and resources for efficient water uses. Get breaking news even faster by following us on Twitter @PAUtilities 

Infrastructure Conditions

View a summary of All Current CPAU Infrastructure Projects 

Electric - Along with ordinary maintenance, the Utilities Department is implementing numerous capital improvement projects to replace aging lower voltage electric lines with new higher voltage ones that can better serve growing electric needs. 

Gas - Leading the industry with an aggressive capital improvement and maintenance program, the City continues its work to upgrade, replace and improve gas distribution system infrastructure to ensure reliability and safety.

Water -  SFPUC is still implementing its
4.6 billion dollar infrastructure improvement program on the Hetch-Hetchy system to replace aging infrastructure and improve seismic reliability. The City continues to implement an aggressive program to upgrade its own water distribution pipelines as well as having just finished its multi-year project to rehabilitate, replace and install new reservoirs and wells to bolster our local emergency water supply system. Both the Hetch-Hetchy upgrade and City emergency water project are very smart investments in the long-term viability of our superior water supply.

Sewer - Projects continue to maintain and replace sewer lines reaching the end of their useful life. Since July of 2011, the City has been engaged in an industry-leading program to search for and identify any
gas line crossbores in sewer pipes to ensure customer safety when dealing with blocked sewer lines. 

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Last Updated: May 12, 2016