City of Palo Alto Utilities Rates Information

On June 17, the Palo Alto City Council will consider proposed rate increases for the electric, gas, wastewater collection and water utilities. These 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.

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

Utilities Rates Overview

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

  • Rates - Current rates and any proposed changes this year
  • Supplies - Sources and their status
  • Infrastructure - Condition and planned improvements
  • Value - What you get for what you spend 


Proposed Rate Changes for July 1, 2019 - current as of May 9, 2019

Current Utilities Rates - Became Effective on July 1, 2018


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. We are currently reviewing proposals for rate changes to go into effect July 1, 2019. 

Stay updated on other important matters such as programs, rebates and workshops 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.  

Information for July 1, 2019 Rates

Notice of Public Hearing - Water and Wastewater Rates

Schedule for the July 1, 2019 Rate Review

February 6:  Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC) reviews preliminary rate changes for Electric, Gas, Wastewater Collection Discussion and Water Utilities

March 6:  UAC reviews proposed rate changes for the Wastewater Collection Utility

March 19:  Finance Committee reviews preliminary financial forecasts and rate changes for the Wastewater Collection and Water Utilities

April 2:  Finance Committee reviews preliminary rate changes for the Electric and Gas Utilities

April 9:  UAC reviews proposed rate changes for the Electric Utility and Water Utility

April 16:  Finance Committee reviews financial plans and rate changes for the Water Utility and Wastewater Collection Utility

May 1:  UAC reviews financial plan and rate changes for the Gas Utility

May 15:  Finance Committee reviews financial plans and rate changes for the Electric, Gas, Wastewater Collection and Water Utilities

June 17:  City Council reviews and votes on proposed rates and financial plans for Electric, Gas, Wastewater Collection and Water Utilities (report not yet published)

 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 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.

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 - 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 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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