Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) went before California regulators on Monday, July 2, to request an extra $5.25 billion from its customers over the course of three years, which could significantly raise residential electricity bills.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, if the request is approved, the normal household electricity bill could rise by 15.6 percent by 2016. PG&E said it made the request in order to have enough funds to ensure delivery of electricity and natural gas is performed as safely and reliably as possible.

"I can't emphasize enough how much people value safety and reliability," said Tom Bottorff, the company's senior vice president of regulatory relations. "That's what they feel is most important, that's what we feel is most important, and that's the major driver here. We didn't make these requests lightly."

According to the San Jose Mercury News, utility rate cases are usually only filed every three years, and often result in drawn-out and complex proceedings. The California Public Utilities Commission is not expected to vote on the the higher electricity rates until the end of 2013.

In deregulated states, residents have the opportunity to switch electric providers and lock in low rates.