SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – As California faces another tough wildfire season, Pacific Gas & Electric is asking regulators to grant a $3.6 billion rate hike to help it pay for hardening its systems to prevent deadly blazes. The Sacramento Bee says the nation’s largest electric utility requested the hike Wednesday, to begin in 2023. The hike would increase the average residential bill by $36 a month for gas and electric service. PG&E says half the money would be used to upgrade systems to prevent blackouts and wildfires. PG&E equipment is blamed for starting some of the state’s deadliest, most devastating fires in recent years.