Jeff Smith 2 p.m., April 16
SDGE Refuses to Testify under Oath on Its Insurance Scam
San Diego Gas & Electric said yesterday (Jan. 27) that it would not submit responses under oath to questions posed by attorney Mike Aguirre in the long-running hearings on whether the utility can make customers — not shareholders — pick up insurance costs from the 2007 wildfires, which regulators said were started by the company's negligence. SDG&E wants customers to pay for wildfire losses in excess of amounts covered by insurance. Aguirre had asked the administrative law judge if he could submit additional questions. She agreed (on a limited basis) but SDG&E, in objecting, claimed attorney-client privilege, among other things. Originally, the California Public Utilities Commission hearings were supposed to be on SDG&E's desire to shift certain insurance costs to customers in future fires. But at the last minute, in a one-sentence statement, SDG&E also said it wanted ratepayers to pick up the tab for certain 2007 insurance costs.
"Shareholders take the risk of mismanagement," says Aguirre. Under the law, ratepayers should only pick up the tab for "prudently incurred costs." He believes criminal and civil agencies should investigate the matter, particularly since SDG&E's parent, Sempra Energy, has already chalked up $463.9 million in regulatory assets because it expects it will get the CPUC's permission. Aguirre wants to know who told Sempra that SDG&E will be able to pass these costs to consumers.
More like this:
- UCAN Joins Fight Against Utility's Treatment of Customers — Feb. 20, 2012
- SDG&E Reports Customers Receiving Bill Assistance Doubles — Feb. 16, 2012
- Do Sempra Shareholders Need Any Further Massaging? — Feb. 15, 2012
- San Diego Gas & Electric Wants You to Pay for Its Negligence — Feb. 15, 2012
- SDG&E Tries to Nix Public Hearing on Fire Insurance Scam — Jan. 24, 2012