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PG&E Questions

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is commonly known as PG&E. It is a utility company that provides natural gas and electricity to the northern two thirds of California. Common issues with PG&E often lead to questions like the ones answered below.

We are being evicted under a claim of making too much noise. We were only given a 5 day notice to be out but then the landlord shut off our PG&E utilities after 3 days. Can I make a case against my landlord?

You definitely can make a case against your landlord. It is normally illegal to forcibly evict a tenant or to conduct any acts of self-help eviction. This would include shutting off utilities, changing the locks, or throwing out your stuff without obtaining an eviction order from a court.

There is a process that must be followed by the landlord to have a tenant evicted. He/she would first have to deliver a 3-Day Notice to Quit. The notice states that the tenant has 3 days to vacate or face eviction. If the tenant does not leave, then the landlord must then file an unlawful detainer action to get an eviction order. Then the tenant can contest the question of default. Only when a judge has issued the eviction order can the landlord have the tenant evicted.

Your situation seems to show that your landlord is taking self-help eviction actions by turning off your utilities and you can file claim against him for damages because the courts do not take kindly to those who try to evict tenants by illegal means.

Can my landlords turn off my PG&E utilities and put them into their name?

Your landlord cannot shut off your PG&E utilities without a court order and notice. Depending on what is in the lease and the manner in which they are switching the utilities to their name, they may be able to do this provided that they do not shut your PG&E services down.

Is it possible to get an exception from PG&E to encroach on a 50 foot easement, by 15 feet, for a garage addition? In this easement PG&E has a line of towers with wires for the transmission of electric energy.

You would need to make your case to PG&E in writing to their legal department for the waiver. If you do get their consent you would still need to file the waiver with the recorder of deeds and the code enforcement department. If your addition impedes their access to their lines or could cause a danger to your structure from the lines then you are unlikely to be given the waiver.

PG&E recently installed a new gas meter on my neighbor’s property which is inches from theirs and my property line. In order to access the meter PG&E has to use my property. What recourse do I have to stop this?

You can try to put up a fence to prevent their access to the meter. This action could result in either PG&E changing the location of the meter or going to court and asking for an easement. Your other options would be to go to court yourself and obtain an order/injunction prohibiting the utility company from accessing your property.

Who is responsible to pay the PG&E bills, water and garbage during the 5-6 months before transferring the deed?

The seller of the property is responsible for all utilities and other bills like house insurance prior to the closing date. However if the buyer is actually living in the property before the sale then the buyer would be responsible for the bills.

Having the right information and understanding about PG&E and their agreements can be useful when you need PG&E help. Experts can help answer your legal questions about rights to PG&E utilities or about legal issues with PG&E services.
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