Utilities Rates

City of Palo Alto Utilities Rates Information 

On June 17, the Palo Alto City Council approved rate changes for the electric, gas, wastewater collection and water utilities. These new rates became effective on July 1, 2019. 

This year's rate increases are largely driven by rising costs for necessary infrastructure improvements to ensure safety, reliability and resiliency, as well as increased costs for construction materials and labor. Learn more in the staff report about rate changes. 

We hope this webpage will provide you with the information needed to understand the cost drivers behind this year's rate changes, what the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) does to keep costs down, and the value of what you get for what you spend.

Information on Rate Changes Effective July 1, 2019


Annual Review

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. Stay updated on other important matters by signing up to receive Council and other advisory committee agendas and minutes, the Utilities eNewsletters,or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.  


 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.  The City of Palo Alto adopted a carbon neutral gas portfolio in 2017.  Click here to learn more

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 risk of not having enough water to meet ever-growing needs in some years; a challenge that is not going away. Recurring drought cycles are a permanent feature of water supply in this state. Learn more about our water supply and resources through our Urban Water Management Plan

Infrastructure Projects

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 - Palo Alto's water supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), is still implementing its 4.8 billion dollar infrastructure improvement program on the Hetch-Hetchy system to replace aging infrastructure and improve seismic reliability. The City of Palo Alto continues a proactive program to upgrade its own water distribution pipelines. CPAU has also completed a 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 investments in the long-term viability of our superior water supply.

Sewer - CPAU continues to maintain and replace sewer lines that are reaching the end of 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.

Give us feedback! We value your opinion, comments, insights or questions! Send them to us at UtilitiesCommunications@CityofPaloAlto.org