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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today (May 9) approved a rate hike for San Diego Gas & Electric customers that will come to almost $10 a month for the average electric ratepayer. The vote of the commission was unanimous. SDG&E for many years has consistently had the highest electricity rates in the nation, but that apparently didn't dissuade the commission or the administrative law judge who earlier recommended an increase. The CPUC said the typical electric bill (500 kilowatt hours per month) will leap 12.2% or $9.95 per month; the average gas bill (33 therms per month) will rise 9.6% monthly or $3.55.

KPBS quoted Commissioner Mark Ferron commenting, "Safety and reliability do not come free. While we must do our best to contain costs, we do have to spend some more on safety and reliability." Some would challenge his reference to safety, since a division of the CPUC found SDG&E greatly responsible for significant parts of the 2007 wild fires, and customers going through blackouts have not been singing the praises of reliability.

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Comments

Don Bauder May 9, 2013 @ 4:56 p.m.

aardvark: Hardly surprising in today's CPUC. I thought Brown's appointees would make a difference, but they are apparently led around by the nose by Peevey. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston May 9, 2013 @ 6:31 p.m.

Finally you've come around, Don.!!! Seriously, though I can understand your hopefulness going back a couple of years when Brown appointed Florio, Ferron and Sandoval. However, over the last year or so, there has been ample opportunity for the new kids to stand up and show their stuff. And unfortunately, despite the fact that they are assessing PG& a rather large fine, more than 2 1/2 yrs after the explosion, the new kids have continued to disappoint, at least when it comes to the energy segment, by acting decidedly pro utility. And after a mere 4 months, the newest kid, Carla Peterman, apparently is jumping in line with the others. Kind of disappointing that an Oxford grad could seemingly be so easily "converted". But she has worked with Florio before, so maybe not so much. I'm just glad to see you finally agree that even with these "new" commissioners, it's apparently business as usual.

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Don Bauder May 9, 2013 @ 8:50 p.m.

tomjohnston: Actually, the commission hasn't assessed the fine yet. It's been recommended by the division that is in charge of safety. The full commission meets later on it. The fact that this decision was unanimous is certainly a disappointment. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh May 9, 2013 @ 5:57 p.m.

There 's no logic behind this that I can discern. The only thing I can imagine is that since SDGE has failed to get relief on the wildfire costs, it now comes to the CPUC as a ragged and impoverished beggar (if anyone can picture that) and begs for help. And the merciful commission agrees. Then everyone lives (un)happily ever after. The electrical supply situation is most complex. but why pray tell should gas rates also go up? Gas is a glut on the market now, and sells at historical low rates.Gas bills should be dropping, not increasing. I'm almost glad that I don't use their gas--it isn't available where I reside--and I buy propane. But propane has always seemed to me to be a rip-off. The companies that sell it are doing famously well. Regulated or unregulated, our utilities are going up at double-digit rates, and the reasons are not clear, obvious, or logical.

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Don Bauder May 9, 2013 @ 8:55 p.m.

Visduh: I agree with you on gas; there is a glut that is depressing prices. Parent Sempra is a very profitable utility, and SDG&E makes up the largest part of Sempra. Yet the CPUC hands money to the already-rich mendicants. Californians complain about taxes, but they would be relieved of much financial pain if utilities were not granted such outrageous rate increases. SDG&E consistently has the highest rates among U.S. electric utilities. Does it deserve more? Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 9, 2013 @ 7:55 p.m.

And so begins the recouping of the monies paid out by SDG&E to settle claims due to the wildfires that they had a large part in causing.

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Don Bauder May 9, 2013 @ 8:57 p.m.

aardvark: Could be. SDG&E's furtive attempt to pass on the expense of uninsured 2007 fire costs was turned down (for now). Possibly the CPUC is granting this rate relief with that in mind. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat May 9, 2013 @ 8:42 p.m.

SDG&E customers will hate this. Their decision will be unanimous.

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Don Bauder May 9, 2013 @ 8:58 p.m.

dwbat: Almost unanimous. The top officials of Sempra and SDG&E -- all grossly overpaid -- will love it. Admittedly, that is a tiny minority of SDG&E customers. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK May 10, 2013 @ 7:27 a.m.

Probably not the end of the rate increases any time soon, the old how to boil a frog approach.

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Don Bauder May 10, 2013 @ 8:22 a.m.

Murphyjunk: You have it exactly. Your monthly electric bills go up more than 12%. Inflation is around 2%, if that. You can see why SDG&E rates are consistently the highest in the nation. Wall Street calls it "a friendly regulatory environment." Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 May 10, 2013 @ 3:17 p.m.

Peevey has been the greatest threat to California ratepayers since the California Energy Crisis of 2000. He was appointed to the CPUC (after running SCE) by a brain dead democrat Gray Davis in 2002 and is still running amuck under another increasing brain dead Governor Brown.

Politicians keep proving that brain dead democrats are no better for protecting our future than corrupt republicans, a truth that also applies to Washington.

So we have, most recently, the increasingly out of control nuclear threats by SCE at San Onofre, the gas disaster by PG&E and the firestorm disasters by SDG&E, plus political disasters in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington as a continuous scenario of threats to our lives, property and long term future quality of life.

So if you think that this rate increase looks bad, fasten your seat belts because things are going to get a lot worse as long as Brown continues to fail to protect us from the utility dominated CPUC, especially if he continues to allow criminally negligent utility executives to commit larceny with impunity against and threaten the lives of ratepayers and families of California.

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Don Bauder May 10, 2013 @ 7:38 p.m.

Anon92107: I believe you are right. The stranglehold that the three major utilities -- PG&E, SCE, SDG&E -- have over the CPUC and California ratepayers is likely to continue to get worse. Getting garroted is no fun, unless you have a bundle of Sempra stock. Best, Don Bauder

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michaelspinnerhead May 11, 2013 @ 9:42 p.m.

The rates only go up, CPUC is obviously not our friend. I feel sorry for all those who have pools in SDG&E territory. I'm now considering putting solar panels on my roof but I fear sooner or later they will find a way to charge us for producing clean energy. We'll all have to move to Imperial Irrigation district territory where investors are not involved. Although my primary residence is in San Diego, I have a second home in Imperial county. There are no tiered rates there that I know of and electricity is still relatively cheap. I get sick of hearing them say reliable and safe energy is priority and nothing is ever said about cost savings. If you were lucky enough to not have lost a lot of money in your 401k plan during the great recession, you can probably afford to retire here. I know I won't.

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Don Bauder May 11, 2013 @ 10:09 p.m.

michaelspinnerhead: The claim that reliable and safe energy is a top priority is gross hypocrisy, as blackouts and fires demonstrate in San Diego, along with a crippled nuclear plant in the Los Angeles area and a deadly explosion in Northern California. The California utilities' major concentration is on running up profits and stock prices, and the CPUC is the facilitator. Best, Don Bauder

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BackwardsMeter May 24, 2013 @ 12:13 a.m.

Don't you think that it's time we hedge ourselves against these inevitable increases and Go Solar. Why do we pay them instead of ourselves ? I heard that the 12.2% increase is for the next 4 yrs... Can anyone confirm that ? Regardless..... What's next ? Time to plug..... http://www.GoSolarwithGenesis.com

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