By Miriam Raftery
November 25, 2014 (San Diego) – For years, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has ranked highest in the nation—or nearly so--for the most expensive utility rates in America. The annual survey is conducted by Jacksonville Electric Authority.
But now SDG&E has stopped providing its data to Jacksonville in 2013, after the company received bad publicity for its high rates. So San Diegans no longer know where our city ranks in utility rates.
East County Magazine asked SDG&E why it stopped participating in the survey. Stephanie Donovan, senior communications manager for SDG&E, sent this response:
“While we believe these types of surveys can provide valuable information, the methodology the JEA survey uses, i.e. ranking utilities’ rates based on bills of 1,250 kWh per month, does not accurately reflect SDG&E customers’ actual usage pattern, resulting in an “apples to oranges” comparison with other utilities.”
Donavan added, “The reality is that fewer than 5 percent of SDG&E residential customers saw utility bills with energy use as high as 1,250 kWh in 2012. In that same year, SDG&E’s average residential usage was about 500 kWh per month – far less than half the JEA survey’s benchmark usage. SDG&E’s customers’ energy use is far lower than the JEA benchmark for a number of reasons, including their diligent energy-efficiency efforts and SDG&E’s ongoing outreach to help them manage their usage and their bills to save energy and money.”
Donavan called the JEA survey “counterproductive in our efforts to educate our customers and stakeholders about their energy consumption, rates and bills. For that reason, we’ve chosen to discontinue our participation in this survey.”
Currently the survey lists Southern California Edison rates at $250 per 1000 kilowatt hours as highest in the nation.
An article in the San Diego Reader by Don Bauder (California electricity rates top nation’s — by far ) states that Richard Rider, chairman of San Diego Tax Fighters, asked San Diego Gas & Electric to reveal its rates for certain inland customers, representing the bulk of the City of San Diego. The local utility charges a whopping $336 per 1000 kilowatt hours, he states. “That’s 29 percent higher than the highest utility on the [Jacksonville] list — [Southern California Edison],” says Rider.
Bauder states, “I asked San Diego Gas if it wanted to dispute Rider’s number and never heard back.”