Utilities Rates

City of Palo Alto Utilities Rates Information 

On June 22, 2020, the Palo Alto City Council met to approve rates for the fiscal year starting July 1. After many hours of tough budget talks and reducing expenses, this year the city will not increase most utility rates due to the current economic conditions for customers. Instead, it will draw down current Enterprise Fund financial reserves with the exception of the gas utility and previously approved annual stormwater fee inflation increase. 

Gas rates increased by 2% on average. Rising costs for necessary infrastructure improvements drive much of this change. These projects will help to ensure a safe, reliable and resilient gas system for the future. Stormwater fees Drain and Dark Fiber rates increased by 2.5%. Learn more in the staff report about rate changes.

Information on Rate Changes Effective July 1, 2020


Annual Review

CPAU evaluates revenues and expense on an ongoing basis. Rate changes are typically recommended to coincide with the City's fiscal year schedule (July 1 through June 30). To stay updated on important Utility and City matters, sign up to receive:


What Do Utilities Rates Fund

Utility rates fund our infrastructure maintenance and operations, capital improvement projects, metering, billing, customer service, customer programs, and general administrative services in order to deliver upon our commitments to you, our customers. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy. As a result, we have adjusted our rate changes this year to help minimize financial impacts. 

 Utility Resources Supply Information

The mission of the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) is to provide safe, reliable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective utility services. Read more below about these services. 

Electricity - Effective January 2013, Palo Alto achieved an "all green"  carbon-neutral electric supply portfolioPalo Alto gets its electricity from several sources. The exact numbers from each source vary annually.

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 Alto is fortunate to get its water from the Hetch-Hetchy system, one of the most pristine, high-quality sources in the country. Like all Californians, we 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 through our Urban Water Management Plan

Infrastructure Projects

View a summary of All Current CPAU Infrastructure Projects

Electric - CPAU is always performing ongoing maintenance on its equipment. Several infrastructure projects to replace aging lower voltage lines are also proposed. The new, higher voltage lines will better serve Palo Alto's growing electric needs. 

Gas - CPAU leads the industry with an aggressive capital improvement and maintenance program. The City continues its work to upgrade, replace and improve the gas distribution infrastructure to reliability and safety. 

Water - Palo Alto's water supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), is still implementing a 4.8 billion dollar infrastructure improvement program on the Hetch-Hetchy system. This project will replace aging infrastructure and improve seismic reliability. 

CPAU continues a proactive program to upgrade its own water distribution pipelines as well. The City is undergoing a multi-year project to rehabilitate, replace and install new reservoirs and wells. These efforts will bolster our local emergency water supply system. 

Both the SFPUC and CPAU projects 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 2011, the City has engaged in an industry-leading program to search for and identify any gas line crossbores into sewer pipes. This program will help 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