Susan Luzzaro 4:30 p.m., Dec. 11
“100s” of Ideas on SDG&E Wildfires Presented but None to Address Power Lines as Yet-To-Be Underground Sources
A short blurb in Saturday's daily paper disclosed that hundreds of ideas have been suggested as possible remedies or aids to make the San Diego Gas and Electric Company's plan to cut power to county residents during the threat of high dry winds more palatable to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
CPUC has previously denied SDG&E permission to implement the power cutoff plan as ill-advised and without sufficient public participation. This writer has concerns that as long as the non-SDG&E participants in the current mediation are not aware of what SDG&E's motivations are, then the mediation will ultimately result in a situation where SDG&E customers are all on the hook for the un-insured costs of SDG&E causing inevitable wildfires through utility negligence in the future, costs that SDG&E will allow to balloon without limit. It is my opinion that the common source of that utility negligence is found in their obstinate refusal to put all power lines underground, as doing so may be unprofitable for stockholders regardless of the pain and suffering caused to ratepayers in wildfires caused by poor utility management practices and industry-acceptable negligence.
It is vitally important for San Diego County property owners and all San Diego county residents to realize that public safety is not the highest priority of SDG&E and other investor owned utilities (“IOUs” as they refer to themselves in CPUC filings). I believe that documents submitted by SDG&E with the other Southern California IOUs to CPUC do disclose their primary motivation, and that motivation is the protection of IOU stockholders regardless of the utilities' expectation that they foresee themselves acting in negligent ways, that the negligence is inevitable as part of currently acceptable utility personnel leadership and property management practices, and that therefore the costs of that industry-acceptable negligence must be passed on to consumers in the “traditional” manner that CPUC has done so in the past.
According to SDG&E's estimate, San Diego county power lines will be traditionally above ground until at least 2063.
At this point, the responsible thing for me to do is to begin an on-line analysis of the documents that have been filed with CPUC, so that county supervisor Dianne Jacob and other non-SDG&E participants in power cutoff mediation talks are informed, as will the ordinary reasonable readers of the Reader blogs are informed, of the official, filed motivations of SDG&E that provide the true context for that public utility's participation in those mediation talks.
I sincerely believe that once the true context of SDG&E's participation is known, then it will be seen that the emperor of the San Diego electricity franchise actually has no clothes and the mediation is merely a stall tactic as a potential series of “limitless” rate hikes gains approval in principle by CPUC in the next few months, without any public hearings at all.
It says something when a federal prosecutor points at a public utility in closing arguments and accuses it of “corporate arrogance”, especially when a jury of twelve later comes back with unanimous verdicts of guilt. I agree with federal prosecutor Melanie Pierson who later told me “The jury got it right” even after key evidence was tossed out before a new trial cold take place, tossed out without consideration of that evidence under California law as the Clean Air Act statute by Congress demanded it to be considered during a National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants prosecution in District Court.
SDG&E and Sempra Energy have the best lawyers your money can buy, every day.