“SDG&E has asked ratepayers to overpay for service, including funding long-term stock options and incentive programs in excess of what is reasonable,” Joe Como, acting director, Division of Ratepayer Advocates at the California Public Utilities Commission
September 21, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Consumers opening their bills in a month that saw the worst power outage in California history got another unpleasant surprise: a notice that San Diego Gas & Electric Company seeks a rate increase of $1.5 billion over the next four years.
The California Utilities Commission has scheduled several meetings in San Diego County on the proposed rate hike between October 10 and 13, including two hearings Oct. 12 in East County (El Cajon). Public Participation Hearings will be held at 2.p.m. and 7 p.m. at each of the following locations:
• San Diego: October 10, 2011 (Al Bahr Shriners Center, 5440 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego92111)
• Chula Vista: October 11, 2011 (Comfort Inn & Suites, 632 E. St., Chula Vista 91910)
• El Cajon: October 12, 2011 (El Cajon City Hall Council Chambers, 200 E. M ain St, El Cajon 92020)
• Oceanside: October 13, 2011 (Civic Center Library, 330 N. Coast Highway , Oceanside 92054)
If you need special accommodations, call 1-866-849-8390.
San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) filed its 2012 General Rate Case application (A.10-12-005) on December 15, 2010. Specifically, SDG&E is requesting the following revenue increases:
• $277 million (7%) in 2012
• $49 million (3.2%) in 2013
• $64 million (3%) in 2014
• $81 million (4%) in 2015
In its application, the utility stated, “ SDG&E seeks to revise its authorized revenue requirements, effective on January 1,2012, to recover the reasonable costs SDG&E will incur in 2012 to own and operate the facilities that generate and distribute electricity to its customers, distribute gas, and to fulfill SDG&E’s customer service function.”
The CPUC’S Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) filed its Protest on January 18, 2011.
DRA's Policy Position
DRA served its Report on September 1, 2011, recommending a rate decrease for SDG&E customers. DRA's 10-month audit shows that the magnitude of SDG&E's request for additional revenues to cover costs associated with its operations, maintenance, and capital investments is unwarranted. DRA forecasted lower levels of expenses than the utility in these areas:
• Long-term stock options
• Funding of incentive programs
• Allocation of full benefits of the 2010 Tax Relief Act to customers
DRA's recommended proposal would result in no cumulative total revenue increase for this rate case period.
See DRA's detailed executive summary and full report of its analyses filed on September 1, 2011, on the docket card. DRA also published a press release on its recommendations. That release reads in part:
"DRA staff spent 10 months analyzing SDG&E’s proposal and found it to be flawed in several ways. DRA forecasts that SDG&E will have lower expenses than what SDG&E has projected and recommends that the CPUC reject the utility’s 2012 revenue increase request and instead order a 3 percent revenue decrease in 2012. DRA’s findings also recommend more modest increases than SDG&E requested for subsequent years through 2015."
The DRA concludes, “SDG&E has asked ratepayers to overpay for service, including funding long-term stock options and incentive programs in excess of what is reasonable,” said Joe Como, DRA’s acting director. “DRA believes that the utility is capable of providing reliable service at a price tag far less than what SDG&E has proposed.”
Evidentiary hearings begin November 30, 2011 at the CPUC Courtroom (505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco).
A Proposed Decision is expected February 2012 and a Commission vote is expected around March 2012.
For more information, see DRA's detailed executive summary and full report of its analyses filed on September 1, 2011, on the docket card. DRA also published a press release on its recommendations
For SDG&E's information, see http://www.sdge.com/regulatory/A10-12-005.shtml