David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
If San Diego Needs More Electricity, then Sempra Sells It... To Canada?
Despite a documented need for more electricity that led San Diego Gas and Electric Company to demand approval for the Sunrise Powerlink project, a major component of SDG&E's holding company Sempra Energy (SRE) has moved to resume sales of electricity not to SDG&E but to Canada.
Sempra Energy Trading (SET) has filed a request with the United States Department of Energy to export electricity to Canada under a previously-expired presidential permit. Comments, protests, or requests to intervene must be filed and received by DOE on or before December 22, 2010.
Attorneys for SDG&E have already provided statements to California's Public Utilities Commission for massive small business and residential business hour rate hikes, citing projected daytime shortfalls for meeting future peak demand. SDG&E stated that there could be a difference of ten times between peak and off-peak small business and residential consumer rates. Any price difference is intended by SDG&E to provide a high-price signal to force consumers to abandon daytime electricity usage, freeing up those resources for SDG&E's largest industrial-strength customers.
Under SDG&E's PeakShift at Work/ PeakShift at Home (PSW/PSH) A1007009 application, there will also be a $118 million charge to consumers to pay for PSW/PSH advertising from now until 2015.
Currently, SDG&E is struggling to meet state mandates that 20 percent of electricity purchased or produced for consumers must come from solar or some other alternative energy source. SDG&E has entered into a number of solar farm contracts for facilities that have yet to be constructed, where those reach completion well after the 20 percent 2010 deadline.
Sempra Energy's Energia Costa Azul project in Baja California could be a supplier for the San Diego electricity market via the Sunrise Powerlink, but multiple lawsuits and calls for state and federal investigations over bribery allegations appear to cloud that option. It is possible that Energia Costa Azul's newly-disclosed $20 million executive retreat opens Sempra Energy to liabilities for owed Mexican taxes.