Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
SDGE Asking for Excessive Profits, Say Ratepayer Advocates
The Division of Ratepayer Advocates, a California Public Utilities Commission operation that represents consumers, says San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) is asking for a vastly excessive return on equity in the utility's current rate case. SDGE wants an 11% return on equity, or money that stockholders can expect to receive on their investment. The Division of Ratepayer Advocates says the rate should be 8.5%. Such a rate would result in a $50 million annual savings to SDGE customers.
One reason SDGE's request is unreasonable is that interest rates are very low, so the cost of capital has declined greatly since the last rate hearing in 2007. The division compared SDGE's request to the median return on equity of 34 utilities. That median is 9.9% -- well below SDGE's request. "It is unwarranted for [SDGE] to charge its customers a rate of return for its investors that is out of line with current market conditions," says Joe Como, acting director of the Division of Ratepayer Advocates.
The question is whether the commission, which is pro-utility shareholder and anti-consumer, will listen to the Division of Ratepayer Advocates.
More like this:
- Utility Shareholders Should Pay for Pipeline Tests -- not Customers — June 20, 2012
- Is SDGE Lying? — April 12, 2012
- Utilities Commission to Hear from San Diego Public — Feb. 23, 2012
- CPUC's Ratepayer Advocates Back SD Hearing on SDGE Fire Scam — Jan. 26, 2012
- SDGE Disconnects Rise to Low Income Households, but at Slower Rate Than Other Utilities — Nov. 23, 2009