Chris Faust, who says that he’s followed the utility’s machinations over the years, thinks that the swap-out process is just another example of SDG&E’s “duplicitous way of doing business — a way to raise rates without ‘raising rates.’ ” He notes, “Look at the Sunrise Powerlink project. SDG&E originally said they needed the transmission lines to bring renewable energy into the area, but they have no such commitment in their updated [Public Utilities Commission] filing. In any case, they can rely on RECs [renewable energy credits]. RECs allow a renewable generator to sell electricity to one buyer and the RECs to other utilities. In some cases, SDG&E could buy the energy and resell it to other states like Arizona — it would never reach San Diego — but [SDG&E] still gets the RECs. So the Sunrise Powerlink is superfluous. In the historical context, it just reinforces the personality of the company.”
Faust doesn’t know when SDG&E will be back on Garfield Road to give him the ultimatum, but given his experience to date, it’s likely that whenever he looks at his new smart meter he’ll see an offer he couldn’t refuse.