Once I show people the A1007009 PeakShift at Work/PeakShift at Home rate hike application by San Diego Gas and Electric Company, not one of them appears to be in favor of getting billed more just because their power usage happens to come in the middle of the business day.

Usually, I have to take a step back to be clear of the explosion when they see that SDG&E is also asking for a total of $118 million from us to tell us what a "consumer beneficial" good deal it is for the PSW/PSH rate hike, once it is approved by California's Public Utilities Commission. The SDG&E public relations advertising campaign for us to make "informed decisions" is expected to last until 2015, encouraging us to use appliances mostly in the evenings and weekends to provide more power availability for SDG&E's larger commercial accounts (See last paragraph, p. 6, A1007009).

SDG&E's attorneys Carlos F. Pena and Laura M. Earl estimate that "1.2 million residential and 120,000 small nonresidential customers (i.e., customers with maximum demand less than 20 kW)" will be billed under the PSW/PSH proposal once approved.

SDG&E's A1007009 application initially came as the company was moving forward with its Sunrise Powerlink transmission line through East County. Allegedly, completion of that project should have made the entire PSW/PSH rate hike scheme unnecessary with the Sunrise Powerlink bringing in alternative source electricity from Imperial County and natural gas-fired electricity from Mexico.

This summer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company spent about $30 million in its losing bid to amend California's constitution with Proposition 16. Compared to SDG&E demand for us to pay $118 million for advertising to us along with other related PSW/PSH preparation expenses, the cost to PG&E Corporation shareholders of PG&E's political activism seems downright frugal.

So far, there a number of parties protesting the PSW/PSH application which includes what appears to be anti-competitive measures against San Diego small businesses. The PSW component will act to penalize those estimated 120,000 small businesse customers for electricity usage during normal business daytime hours. The next group I intend to survey will consist of small business owners throughout San Diego.

Because of the new ground being broken by SDG&E's "dynamic pricing" application, including a lack of objective data from SDG&E to support the rate hike, CPUC evidentiary hearings initially requested by SDG&E for November and December 2010 have been pushed back to March 2011.

Individual and small business power customers interested in making comments directly to SDG&E may find contact information on pages 12 and 13 of the SDG&E application.

SDG&E A1007009 PSW/PSH Application (CPUC PDF)

U-T's Onell Soto: Lawsuit to stop SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink dismissed

WSJ MarketWatch: Sempra Energy Reports Third-Quarter 2010 Earnings


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