Pacific Gas and Electric is specific about its services. The utility distributes electricity to almost 5.2 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers and natural gas to approximately 4.3 million customers in Central and Northern California. Pacific Gas and Electric has interests in power plants with a total of 7,414 MW of generating capacity. It is also engaged in electricity procurement and transmission, and natural gas procurement, transportation and storage. Pacific Gas and Electric is the major subsidiary of holding company PG&E Corporation.
Electricity accounts for about 80% of Pacific Gas and Electric's revenue.
In a major setback, in September 2010 one of Pacific Gas and Electric's natural gas lines ruptured in San Bruno, near San Francisco's international airport. The resulting explosion and a major fire caused several deaths and the razing of more than 50 homes and damage to another 120. The incident resulted in the parent company taking a third quarter 2010 charge of $238 million. By early 2012 it was also facing more than 100 lawsuits over the accident.
The company's revenue increased 1% in 2012 as electricity income rose 4% but natural gas dipped 10% due to lower prices. Net income dipped as the company spent more on operating costs.
To help meet California's long-term carbon emission requirements, and to help meet the ambitious state target of utilities producing 33% of power from renewable sources by 2020, Pacific Gas and Electric is pursuing energy efficiency and breaking ground on new projects. The company is the first US utility that has committed to purchasing wave-generated power. In terms of solar power, it has signed deals with Topaz Solar Farms, a subsidiary of OptiSolar, and High Plains Ranch II, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation, to develop 750 MW of high-efficiency PV solar energy. It agreed to buy electricity generated from Arizona's Agua Caliente solar plant from NRG Energy, when the plant is completed in 2014. It is also looking to develop wind farms with IBERDROLA RENEWABLES.