Electric rates paid by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s residential customers rose by an average of 1.5 percent Tuesday but still ended up about 2 percent below their level of a year earlier, the utility announced.

PG&E said it expects Bakersfield's average residential electric bill to rise by 1.24 percent to $104.34 as a result of the change.

Actual increases vary by power usage and customer classification. For example, PG&E said system-average customers who use only 550 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will see their bills increase by only 1.1 percent to $79.70, while customers who use 1,550 kilowatt-hours a month will be billed 3.3 percent more a month for a total of $440.92.

The annual rate adjustment reflects electric transmission costs, PG&E said. It was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

PG&E rates tend to change several times through the year, for various reasons. On Jan. 1, PG&E's electric rates declined by an average of 0.8 percent.

Not included in either of the recent rate changes are increases expected to come of the utility's 2011-13 General Rate Case, a months-long process that guides the bulk of PG&E's rate increases for three years. No final decision has been made by the state Public Utilities Commission on how much PG&E's rates will rise after the GRC, but the company expects that rates this year will increase by less than 1 percent. That would likely be followed by significantly greater increases in 2012 and 2013.

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