Dorian Hargrove 8:30 p.m., Dec. 12
1.2 Million SDG&E Residental Customers to be Billed by Time-of-Day/Week
120,000 Small Business SDG&E Customers Included in Proposed PSW/PSH Rate Scheme
San Diego Gas & Electric Company employee Joseph Velazquez testified to California's Public Utilities Commission that SDG&E intends to move "virtually all of SDG&E’s customers including its estimated 1.2 million residential and 120,000 small nonresidential customers" to time-based electricity rates.
The Velasquez SDG&E testimony was provided to support SDG&E's application A1007009 that would effectively end usage-based customer billing practices at the investor owned utility. Sempra Energy, the holding company that owns SDG&E, recently suffered a multi-billion-dollar contraction in its year-to-year revenues, reporting only about $8 billion in 2009 compared to roughly $11 billion during the year of the Crash of 2008.
SDG&E's proposed time-based billing programs PeakShare at Work (PSW for small businesses) and PeakShare at Home (PSH for residential customers) are designed to herd those customers into using electricity during off-peak hours and weekends, reducing power resource competition for large business consumers and reducing the need for SDG&E to construct expensive peaker plants to meet daytime power demands.
A lack of peaker plant capacity may act to constrict the future sales of residential units in San Diego's already lackluster housing market.
One or more SDG&E spokespersons have previously cited the Sempra-owned utility's proposed PSW/PSH rate scheme as a means of controlling its costs for electricity to be later sold to customers. To insure customer demand for PSW/PSH, SDG&E plans to bill all SDG&E customers about $118 million for consumer education and other PSW/PSH costs over the next five years, despite SDG&E attorney assurances to CPUC that "PeakShift terminology is intended to be easily understood and user-friendly for use by these customer classes."
At the same time, SDG&E is awaiting approval from the Forest Supervisor of the Cleveland National Forest to begin work on the Sunrise Powerlink project through federally-protected property. A lease agreement for half of the Sunrise Powerlink capacity from Imperial Valley to San Diego has been proposed by Boston-based Citizens Energy Corporation, to be accomplished through a Citizens-controlled limited liability company that will hand $83 million in pre-paid rent over to SDG&E. SDG&E hopes its total Sunrise Powerlink capacity will improve its percentage of alternative energy use, although the utility will not dedicate the Sunrise Powerlink project for alternative energy transmission. Other potential Mexican sources of electricity may include the somewhat-stalled Energia Costa Azul project overseen by Sempra LNG.
CPUC recently determined that the A1007009 ratesetting application required hearings on SDG&E testimony and other evidence to be held in November and December 2010, before the application could be approved by the state utility commissioners.
Visit the SDG&E regulatory website for CPUC activity to see the Velazquez testimony as a PDF file at http://www.sdge.com/regulatory/documents/a-10-07-009/Chapter1-Velasquez.pdf
Visit the A1007009 application PDF at CPUC for SDG&E attorney testimony at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/EFILE/A/120244.PDF
Visit the Cleveland National Forest - Projects & Plans website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland/projects/sunrise-powerlink/index.shtml
NB: On third-party request, above links may be deprecated without blogger's input at website administrator's discretion.