CPUC WILL HOLD HEARING IN SAN DIEGO APRIL 5 ON SDG&E REQUEST TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS
February 24, 2012 (San Diego)—San Diego County residents will finally have a chance to tell the California Public Utilities Commission what they think about San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposal to charge ratepayers $463.9 million for the utility’s uninsured losses due to the 2007 wildfires caused by its poorly maintained power lines.
Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon will hold a public participation hearing on April 5 from 4-9 p.m. at the Al Bar Shriner Auditorium , 4330 Kearny Mesa Road in San Diego.
The announcement follows a February 21, 2012 “Turko Files” KUSI TV investigative report which revealed over a dozen private meetings in which SDG&E executives wined and dined CPUC Commissioner Simon, who is acting as a judge on this matter: http://www.kusi.com/story/16988213/almost-anything-goes.
- Community meeting discussing Quail Brush Power Plant Feb. 28 (Santee Patch)
- Grossmont expands school enrollment choices for some (San Diego Union-Tribune)
- San Diego Gas & Electric wants you to pay for its negligence (San Diego Reader)
- Nature reclaims local cold war relic (San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Hunter introduces bill to name Ramona Post Office after Mac McWilliams (Ramona Patch)
- Helix claims Hills League title with tiebreaking victory over Grossmont (La Mesa Patch)
- Veterans recover from war wounds on the farm (MSNBC)
- SDPD Oversight Board Faces Favoritism Accusations
- Prop 8 backers seek review of gay marriage case (Sacramento Bee)
- Jerry Brown: California to reopen trade offices in China (Sacramento Bee)
STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS, SDG&E NOISE VARIANCE REQUEST AMONG AGENDA ITEMS FOR ALPINE PLANNERS FEB. 23
By Miriam Raftery
February 17, 2012 (Lakeside) – A lineman for a PAR Electric subcontractor working on SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink suffered serious injuries yesterday in a fall in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley.
“Even though he refused medical attention, he was strongly encouraged to go to the hospital, via ambulance, for precautionary reasons,” Deborah Tate with PAR Electric told ECM. “After being examined at the hospital, he was informed that he has 8 broken ribs [and] a separated shoulder.”
How many massive energy projects are too many for one rural community to absorb?
“They want to put these all out here, because we’re throwaway country people.” – Howard Cook
By Mia Myklebust and Miriam Raftery
February 16, 2012 (Jacumba) – Walking along the shores of Lake Jacumba, it’s clear that Howard Cook has big dreams for his community. Chairman of the Lake Restoration Committee, he has wrested a pledge from the Audubon Society to restore the once-dry lake.
“We want to have fishing, boating, and recreation,” he says. Cook is working with others who dream of “making this another Taos—art, wildlife, hiking, Indians and birds.”
But there’s trouble on the horizon. Multiple industrial-scale wind and solar farms soon stand to surround this tiny town, jeopardizing its most cherished natural treasures. Sites include publicly owned recreation lands, notably a spectacular scenic gorge known to locals as “our Grand Canyon,” Cook points out.
Jacumba is a proverbial canary in the coal mine—a warning of what other publicly-owned preserves and rural communities across America may soon face.
LEGAL ACTION BY FIRE VICTIMS SEEKS TO BLOCK SDG&E EFFORT TO FORCE RATEPAYERS TO PAY WILDFIRE COSTS INCURRED BY UTILITY
2 other utilities have withdrawn requests to make ratepayers pay for wildfire damages
By Miriam Raftery
February 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—A motion has been filed on behalf of 2007 wildfire victims whose properties were destroyed or damaged in the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon Fires caused by San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s power lines.
The motion claims SDG&E did not provide proper notice to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about a proposed “wildfire expense balancing account” – a rate hike that would force the public including fire victims to pay SDG&E’s uninsured liability costs for massive wildfires that it caused.
February 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has asked the County to authorize Sunday work on the Sunrise Powerlink project between February 19 and May 28 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in or near the following locations: Lakeside’s San Vicente and el Capitan Reservoir, Jacumba, and Cleveland National Forest. Those operations will include planned power outages in the impacted areas.
JACOB ASKING STATE REGULATORS TO REVIEW GPS DATA AFTER SDG&E HELICOPTERS BREACH ‘NO FLY’ ZONES AROUND EAGLE NESTS--AGAIN
February 6, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) — San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is asking state regulators to review GPS data from helicopters working on the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line after SDG&E helicopters violated “no fly” zones on three separate occasions last month. The “no fly” zones are designed to protect golden eagles during nesting season.
A local elected official says SDG&E installations of smart meters are occurring at homes on opt-out list
By Miriam Raftery
February 7, 2012 (San Diego)—The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this week voted to allow Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers to have smart meters replaced with older analog meters, for a $75 installation fee plus a monthly fee of $5 to $10, depending on income. Ratepayers must inform PG&E by May 1 if they wish to opt-out.
Commissioners have not yet ruled on whether to allow San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or other utilities’ customers to opt out, but are expected to make a similar ruling later this month. SDG&E has proposed even higher opt-out fees of including an initial $175-$200, an exit fee of $50 and a monthly fee of $15 to cover meter readings, the North County Times reports.
By Miriam Raftery
February 3, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Last April, SDG&E said it removed a pilot for flying too close to eagle nests in El Monte Valley, after ECM documented the violation on video and sent it to state regulators. Now it’s happened again.SDG&E has admitted to at least three new incursions into no-fly zones around golden eagle nests in the Bell Bluff area near Alpine and in Thing Valley, near Mount Laguna.
The utility says it’s indefinitely suspended two pilots and is also holding two safety stand-downs. But some concerned residents fear that’s not enough to protect the eagles—and they want to see regulatory options increased.
Organization tells CPUC that smart meters pose health risks, especially for children
SDG&E WANTS RATEPAYERS TO PAY FOR ITS WILDFIRE LIABILITY COSTS: FIRE VICTIMS ASK PUBLIC TO URGE CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN SAN DIEGO
By Miriam Raftery
January 19, 2012 (Ramona) – In hearings last week in San Francisco before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), SDG&E revealed that it wants to charge San Diego County ratepayers nearly half a billion dollars to recoup the utility’s uninsured costs for settling claims involving the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon wildfires. The utility seeks to establish a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA)—a plan that has outraged some local fire victims.
Now they're fighting back--and asking the public for help before February 1 to persuade the CPUC to hold a public participation hearing in San Diego.
Crowd reacts warmly to news that CPUC denied SDG&E charge as "illegal"
Photo by Bob Silvern
January 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- Over sixty San Diegans angered by SDG&E’s proposed tax (network use charge) on rooftop solar customers protested at the company’s Energy Innovation Center open house today, pleading: “Please don’t take our sunshine away.”
Unbeknownst to protesters, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling during the same hour rejecting SDG&E’s proposal after concluding that the proposed charge would be illegal.
By Miriam Raftery
Updated January 20, 2012 to include SDG&E's response to the CPUC decision.
January 18, 2012 (San Diego) – A controversial proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to impose a “network use charge” on homeowners and business owners for rooftop solar production has been rejected by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“Thankfully, the CPUC saw through the utility’s distortions,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a statement issued today. Jacob said the proposal was unfair and that it was “designed to kill off competition from solar providers."
Pilot Program Will Offer Solar Options for All Customers
January 18, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval of its new solar proposal called “connected…..to the sun.” The proposal complements rooftop solar and includes two different pilot programs that would give all SDG&E customers options to buy solar power even if they do not own a home, cannot afford a solar investment, or do not have the ability to put photovoltaic panels on their roof.
Customers could choose to buy all or some of their energy from solar projects located in SDG&E’s service territory or negotiate directly with a local solar provider.
Fraudulent Activity Reported in Other Service Territories
January 13, 2012 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is alerting customers to be aware of an ongoing wire fraud that could potentially reach SDG&E customers. Fraudulent activity has been reported on the East Coast, though there are no indications that SDG&E customers have been targeted.
Scammers posing as utility employees call customers and threatento turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made that day. Utility customers, primarily in Hispanic neighborhoods, have been told that payment must be made by purchasing a pre-pay credit card.
January 11, 2012 (San Diego) -- SDG&E invites you to visit the Energy Innovation Center on Wednesday, January 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a Community Open House which will include guided tours of the center and smart home, demos in the food service demonstration kitchen, and interactive kiosks and exhibits.
By Robin Davis, Lakeside
By Tom Myers
December 17, 2011 (La Mesa) -- PG&E, the utility that turned off the electricity for six families that had switched out smart meters for analog meters due to health problems that they believed were related to the wireless meters, has now reconnected them with electricity.
La Mesa smart meter opponent voices outrage over families left in the cold
By Miriam Raftery
December 14, 2011 (La Mesa)—“We have just learned of a very troubling situation,” Susan Brinchman, a La Mesa activist leading statewide efforts to oppose smart meters, has informed ECM. “Power has been cut off for three families who changed out the smart meters on their homes for analogs.”
The shut-offs were made by Pacific Gas & Electric Company in Santa Cruz. Like a growing number of Californians, the families left in the dark had complained of health problems that they believed were caused by smart meters installed on their residences. Now, Brinchman fears that the same thing could happen in San Diego County.
PROJECT WILDLIFE WINS $25,000, MISSION TRAILS $10,000 IN SDG&E ECO AMBASSADOR’S PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
December 11, 2011 – By just eight votes (15,885 to 15,877), Project Wildlife captured first place in the SDG&E Eco Ambassador’s People’s Choice Award. Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation, which won second place, will receive a $10,000 grant.
December 6, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –Nearly 3,000 customers are without power this morning in Dulzura, Potrero, Campo, Jamacha, Jamul, Indian Springs, La Presa, Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, Barrett Lake, and Lyons Valley. According to San Diego Gas & Electric Company, the power outage is due to a suspected problem in the overhead electrical system.
Power went out at 8:42 a.m. and restoration is expected by 9:44 this morning on two circuits affected. There are additional outages, however, in Bonita and Pala with separate causes and later restoration times projected.
New nesting pair found near McCain Valley, an ECM reader reports
By Miriam Raftery
December 4, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has been granted a variance to continue flights within 4,000 feet of golden eagle nests through December 7 and, in the event of exceptional unforeseen circumstances, as late as December 15 for completion of Sunrise Powerlink work.
SDG&E SHIFTS HELICOPTER FLIGHTS AS EAGLE NESTING SEASON BEGINS; UTILITY SEEKS VARIANCE FROM STATE AND FEDERAL REGULATORS
Lakeside residents mourn loss of pristine views as towers dominate face of mountain listed as county scenic view corridor.
By Billy Ortiz and Miriam Raftery
December 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – December 1st marked the start of breeding season for Golden Eagles in San Diego’s East County. For SDG&E, that means the Sempra-owned utility company must provide a 4,000 foot no-fly buffer zone around Golden Eagle nesting sites.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that SDG&E has applied to federal and state regulators for a variance to extend flights by several days around eagle nests. But as of yesterday, flights near nesting sites remained halted or rerouted.
November 14, 2011 (San Diego) -- The holidays are right around the corner and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) wants to help San Diegans become more energy efficient this holiday season. For the sixth year, SDG&E will be offering complimentary light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) to customers throughout San Diego County during the company’s annual LED Holiday Lighting Exchanges.
COUNTY EXPANDS BAN ON SUNDAY HELICOPTER FLIGHTS, BUT RESIDENTS COMPLAIN NOISE CONTINUES AS SDG&E PUSHES FORWARD ON POWERLINK
By Miriam Raftery
November 6, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – On Friday, the County Department of Planning and Land Use announced a new amendment to noise variances granted to SDG&E for Sunrise Powerlink construction.
Due to residents' complaints, the County has banned Sunday flights over the Carveacre area, according to LeAnn Carmichael at DPLU. The County is also considering requests from other communities seeking broader bans on Sunday flights in the Alpine and Lakeside areas.
November 4, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- Yesterday, ECM reported that some rural residents were left without power during a red flag alert, after receiving warnings from SDG&E that the utility might shut down power due to high fire-risk conditions.
Today, however, SDG&E has denied that power shut-offs impacting an esteimated 5,200 customers was intentional.