Hear our KNSJ radio interview with Diane Conklin, Mussey Grade Road Alliance, by clicking the audio link. Conklin estimates cost of SDG&E’s proposal could be $280 per household.
By Miriam Raftery
January 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) --In 2012, a huge turnout by ratepayers helped persuade the California Public Utilities Commission to deny SDG&E’s request to charge ratepayers for its uninsured costs of three 2007 wildfires.
Now the utility has revived a similar proposal, seeking $379 million from ratepayers. On Monday, the CPUC will hold public hearings in Escondido at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the California Center for the Arts Escondido conference center, Salon 1Room, 340 North Escondido Blvd. in Escondido.
Advocates for ratepayers and fire survivors are urging the public to again turn out in force at Monday’s hearings, arguing that it would be unfair and set a bad precedent to allow a utility to charge ratepayers for fires caused by its equipment. They say that SDG&E should have foreseen high winds and taken steps to protect the public. The group estimates average cost per household would be $280 if SDG&E’s proposal is approved.
But SDG&E contends that it’s fair to ask ratepayers to help shoulder costs of the fires, which it contends were natural disasters with winds stronger than seen in previous fires. The company also notes that it has worked to reduce claims and made major investments to improve fire safety for the future.