CPUC

CPUC TO DECIDE FEB. 13 ON 3 SAN DIEGO FOSSIL FUEL POWER PLANTS

Update February 13:  The CPUC has postponed its decisions until February 28.  This is the fourth delay on the controversial projects.

 

February 12, 2013 (San Diego)—The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to decide this Wednesday, February 13 on whether or not to approve three gas-powered “peaker” plants in San Diego County, including Quail Brush near Mission Trails, as well as facilities in Otay and Escondido. The meeting will be held in San Francisco at 9 a.m. 

If you wish to send a letter to the CPUC, Save Mission Trails has information posted here.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS


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AWEA CONFERENCE ADDRESSES WIND SITING ISSUES IN THE WEST

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jim Pelley (red-tailed hawk at Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility)

January 20, 2013 (San Diego) – Wind power is now the second largest contributor to “green” energy generation in California, with 75,000 Gigawatts produced to date.  California is on track to meet its ambitious target for a 33% renewable portfolio by 2020, according to Karen Douglas, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. (CEC).   But at what cost to wildlife and the environment? 

Balancing environmental concerns vs. the quest to build mega-energy projects to address climate change is a key challenge facing the wind industry--and a hot topic during a panel titled "Building WInd in the West: Overcoming Siting Issues" at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) conference in San Diego last week.

Douglas’ statement was read by a moderator, due to a last-minute conflict in Sacramento that prevented her attendance. Douglas also addressed the Desert  Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) covering 22 million acres, calling for streamlining of permits to enable development of energy projects including 200,000 to 350,000 acres in San Diego and Imperial Counties.   


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PRESERVE WILD SANTEE SEEKS LETTERS TO GOVERNOR BROWN TO STOP QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT

January 19, 2013 (Santee) – The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to soon hold a hearing on its proposed decision finding that Quail Brush and Pio Pico gas-fired power plants are not needed. 

A letter from Preserve Wild Santee states that the CPUC decision has twice been delayed due to “industry lobbying behind closed doors.” Preserve Wild Santee, an environmental group that has lobbied against the power plants, now asks citizens to write to Governor Jerry Brown and ask him to speak out for the public interest and prevent SDG&E/Congentrix from obtaining a decision that would allow “another ratepayer rip-off.”


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SAN DIEGAN FILES SUIT OVER SMART METER HEALTH ISSUES

December 29, 2012 (San Diego)—A federal lawsuit has been filed by Celeste Deborah Cooney, who alleges that radiation from a bank of smart meters left her unable to reside in her home. Defendants in the suit include the SDG&E,  the State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Public Utilities chairman Mi chael Peevey, and Itron Inc., manufacturer of smart meters used in San Diego.

Cooney, a former bank vice president in Massachusetts, moved to San Diego to pursue a new career as a musician.  She performed at prominent locations including the Queen Mary and the Ritz Carlton.  But in April 2011, she developed a ringing in her ears, a “shock to her heart”, numbness, chest pain, heart palpitations and sleep problems that she attributes to a bank of smart meters at an apartment complex near her home in La Jolla.


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CPUC ACCUSED OF VIOLATING BROWN ACT AND DUE PROCESS: FAILED TO NOTIFY PARTIES OF NEW PROPOSAL FOR MEETING TOMRROW ON SDG&E PLAN TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (San Diego) – Why did the California Public Utilities Commission fail to notify parties that it plans to hear a drastically revised alternate decision at tomorrow’s meeting on SDG&E’s proposed Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA)? 

The new version, written by Commissioner Timothy Simon,  would allow SDG&E to charge ratepayers not only for certain uninsured costs of future wildfires caused by its lines, but also appears to now include the 2007 wildfires as well—a shift that has outraged fire survivors. (See pages 23 and 28 at link above.) The draft contains numerous other changes from an earlier alternate decision penned by Simon, as well as a separate alternate decision penned previously by Commissioner Maribeth Bushey, as ECM reported earlier.    

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, representing fire victim Ruth Henricks,  sent an e-mail tonight to the CPUC objecting to any discussion or consideration of the new alternative decision on grounds that it violates the Brown Act due to failure to give proper notice, as well as collective concurrence outside a properly noticed meeting.  He also alleges violation of due process.


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SUPERVISOR JACOB ASKS CPUC TO OPPOSE SDG&E’S WILDFIRE COST-RECOVERY "SCHEME"

December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is again asking the California Public Utilities Commission to reject an attempt by San Diego Gas & Electric to bill its customers for the uninsured cost of the region’s 2007 wildfires and any future wildfire caused by the utility.

“I remain outraged at SDG&E’s incessant attempt to slap ratepayers with a massive invoice for the 2007 wildfires that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in rural San Diego County,” Jacob wrote today in a letter to CPUC President Michael Peevey. “The notion that SDG&E cannot afford the costs of these fires is nonsense.”


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READER'S EDITORIAL: SDG&E BYPASSES FOREST SERVICE; PERMIT REQUEST COULD SIGNAL A CLANDESTINE EXPANSION OF SUNRISE POWERLINK

Stealth project in Cleveland National Forest could cost taxpayers $1 billion; public has just 30 days to comment

By Cindy Buxton, Chair of the Forest Committee, Sierra Club San Diego Chapter

October 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Late last week, SDG&E filed a permit request with the California  Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and  sent an announcement to several local residents of a replacement project for five 69 kV lines which currently circle the county at the end of last week and filed the project with the CPUC.  http://www.sdge.com/regulatory-filing/3792/application-sdge-permit-construct-cleveland-national-forest-power-line

These lines traverse miles of Cleveland National Forest. Unlike the switching out of wood to steel poles that we have heard about for some time, oddly, they did not tell the Cleveland National Forest about their plans.

PLEASE review the link above and send comments to the CPUC. We have a scant 30 days to turn this around and expose SDG&E for not only gaffing off environmental quality, but probably far more important this time they are side stepping basic civil rights. Tell the CPUC they must respect the US Forest Service planning!


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CPUC ISSUES CONFLICTING DRAFT DECISIONS ON WHETHER SDG&E MAY CHARGE CA RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRES CAUSED BY ITS POWER LINES

By Miriam Raftery

October 20, 2012 (San Diego)—Should SDG&E be allowed to charge ratepayers for the 2007 wildfires that it caused – as well as damage from any future fires?  The utility has sought to set up a ““Wildfire Expense Balancing  Account” (WEBA) that would allow it to recover its uninsured losses—regardless of whether the utility was negligent in failing to maintain its lines and equipment. 

This week, two conflicting draft decisions from California Public Utilities representatives are fueling further controversy.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: SDG&E FAILS TO PROVIDE MITIGATION FUNDS FOR FIRE SEASON—AFTER ENERGIZING POWERLINK AND RAISING FIRE DANGER

 

By Catherine Gorka, Lakeside

July 10, 2012 (Lakeside)--Many residents of the East County /back county have received a letter from the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Grants Program telling us about the  grant program. 


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VICTORY FOR CONSUMERS: CPUC EXPANDS SOLAR NET METERING

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
June 25, 2012 (San Diego) – A California Public Utilities Commission has brightened the future for solar energy in California. In a unanimous decision last month, the CPUC voted to nearly double the number of homes and businesses that will be eligible to participate in the state’s net metering program. With net metering,  Net meter lets homeowners and business owners cut their utility bills by installing solar panels—and get credit for excess electricity that the send to the state’s power grid.

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CPUC: SDG&E MUST LET CUSTOMERS”OPT OUT” FROM SMART METERS

By Miriam Raftery

La Mesa leader in anti-smart meter movement says plan offers relief, but does not go far enough

April 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Ratepayers now have the right to have a smart meter removed from their homes—provided they pay a $75 removal fee and $10 a month  fee to read their meter (for low income users, the rate is $10/removal and $5/month). 

Consumers who do not yet have smart meters and are on a “delay” list will have to make clear anew that they wish to opt out, or smart meters may be installed.


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AGUIRRE: SDG&E PLAN TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS IS "DONE DEAL"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outraged? Scroll down to learn how to take action.

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2012 (San Diego) Updated April 10, 2012-- At the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) public meeting this week in San Diego, Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey and CPUC Comissioner Timothy Simon heard from hundreds of area residents, including tearful testimony by numerous victims of the 2007 firestorms.  Some held twisted burned remnants of their lost homes. Others recalled friends who perished in the flames. 

But the most explosive testimony came from former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who declared, “This decision is already made.”  He then leveled accusations that the two CPUC represenstatives present, Commissioner Timothy Simon and Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey, are beholden to SDG&E and subverted the legal interests of fire victims and ratepayers.  


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ECM EDITORIAL: CPUC SHOULD REJECT SDG&E’S SCHEME TO MAKE RATEPAYERS PAY FOR WILDFIRES THAT IT CAUSED

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

April 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--When ENRON schemed to manipulate markets and defraud ratepayers, its executives went to jail. BP faces billions of dolalrs in fines for causing the Gulf Oil spill.  When automobile manufacturers sold cars with dangerous defects that killed people, it was their shareholders who paid the price. A lost hunter convicted of accidentally starting the Cedar Fire with a flare gun also spent time in jail. 

Why, then, should SDG&E and its publicly traded parent company, Sempra Energy, expect local ratepayers to pay for its uninsured liability costs for the wildfires that it caused, while its executives get off scott free?


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CPUC TO HOLD 2 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION HEARINGS ON SDG&E REQUEST TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS

 

March 16, 2012 -- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold Public Participation Hearings regarding the request of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company to establish a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account for recovery of wildfire-related costs. Two hearings will be held on April 5 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the  Al Bahr Shriners Center, 5440 Kearny Mesa Rd., San Diego.

 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: STAND UP AGAINST SMART METERS APRIL 5

 

By Susan Brinchman
 

Director and Founder, Center for Electrosmog Prevention
March 11, 2012 (San Diego)--What can be done to gain an opt-out from smart meters here in San Diego and Orange Counties? The CPUC is dragging its heels in "granting permission" for one in our region. They may do so by June, our attorney learned recently. That is not good enough. It is not set and it is not definite. Why? Well, for one thing, few people in our county know about the smart meter problem due to lack of media coverage and no activism that is newsworthy here such as protests; even fewer have taken steps to show the CPUC we want an opt-out.

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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.


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CPUC APPROVES OPT-OUT OPTION FOR PG&E SMART METER OWNERS--FOR A FEE; WILL RULE NEXT ON SDG&E

 

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. 


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STANDING ROOM ONLY CROWD AT CPUC HEARING IN JACUMBA ON ECO SUBSTATION

 
By Cynthia Wharton

February 2, 2012 (Jacumba)- - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a public participation hearing at the Jacumba Highland Center on January 24.

Presided over by an administrative law judge, the honorable Hallie Yacknin, this hearing provided an opportunity for interested members of the public to express their views on San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) application for a permit to construct the East County Substation Project (ECO Substation).


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SDG&E WANTS RATEPAYERS TO PAY FOR ITS WILDFIRE LIABILITY COSTS: FIRE VICTIMS ASK PUBLIC TO URGE CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN SAN DIEGO


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CITIZENS PROTEST SOLAR TAX

 

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.


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CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN JACUMBA JAN. 24 ON ECO SUBSTATION AND NEW TRANSMISSION LINES PLANNED FOR BOULEVARD

 

January 19, 2012 (Jacumba) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and assigned Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin will hold a hearing in Jacumba on January 24. The public may testify with comments on SDG&E's proposed $285 million 60-85 acre ECO Substation and 13 miles of new 138kV transmission lines planned for Boulevard.


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CPUC REJECTS SDG&E PLAN TO CHARGE SOLAR HOMEOWNERS & BUSINESS OWNERS

By Miriam Raftery

Updated January 20, 2012 to include SDG&E's response to the CPUC decision.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SDG&E WINS AGAIN; CONSUMERS AND FIRE VICTIMS LOSE


By Tom Myers
 
December 20, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) --The CPUC has approved SDG&E’s request to pass the cost of increased wildfire liability costs on to consumers.
 
Let's see...In testimony before the Powerlink was constructed, SDG&E said their
Power lines do not cause wildfire. The EIR said the Powerlink will cause wildfire during its expected life. CPUC approved the Powerlink. SDG&E changed their story and admitted they caused several 2007 wildfires in East County. CPUC fined SDG&E for lying to them, but let them proceed with Sunrise Powerlink.

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SUPERVISOR JACOB SEEKS SHUT-DOWN OF SUNDAY POWERLINK FLIGHTS DUE TO RESIDENTS’ COMPLAINTS


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CPUC GETS AN EARFUL FROM IRATE RATEPAYERS AT EL CAJON HEARING ON SDG&E RATE HIKE PROPOSAL

 

“I urge the Commission to treat SDG&E’s proposal the same way SDG&E has treated East County in recent years: Ignore it. Reject it. Trash it.” – Supervisor Dianne Jacob

 

By Miriam Raftery
 


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SHOULD SDG&E RAISE YOUR RATES? SPEAK OUT WED. OCT. 12 AT CPUC HEARINGS IN EL CAJON

Ruling today on smart meter opt-out for SDG&E customers sparks added interest among local ratepayers

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 11, 2011 (El Cajon) – SDG&E wants to hike utility rates by over 17% in the next four years.  Tomorrow, East County residents will have a chance to voice their views on the proposal at two hearings held by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The public meetings will be held at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. at the El Cajon City Council Chambers, 200 East Main Street in El Cajon. 

 

An East County Magazine poll of readers has found that thus far, 93% of the 275 who voted think the CPUC should deny SDG&E's rate hike request.  TAKE OUR POLL: Should the CPUC approve SDG&E's rate hike?

 

The rate hike is opposed by the CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), which conducted an audit that found SDG&E inflated its costs. The DRA recommended that SDG&E lower—not raise—its rates.   

 


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THEY’RE BACK: SDG&E HELICOPTERS ALLOWED TO RESUME POWERLINK OPERATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 4, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Arocles Aguilar, Assistant General Counsel at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today sent a letter to Patrick T. Lee, vice president in charge of the Sunrise Powerlink project for SDG&E. The letter authorizes SDG&E to resume helicopter operations on the Powerlink project immediately.

 


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COMMUNITY LEADERS, READERS REACT TO NEWS OF POWERLINK HELICOPTER GROUNDINGS

 

"I have called on the CPUC to hold a public meeting in Alpine to look the community in the eye and prove that lives and property are not at risk."

By Miriam Raftery

 

 


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GROUNDED! CPUC ORDERS SHUT DOWN OF HELICOPTER ACTIVITIES ON SUNRISE POWERLINK


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