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Scoping Memo Issued in SDG&E PSW/PSW Rate Hike Proposal at CPUC

California Public Utilities Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan issued the scoping memorandum at the end of September for San Diego Gas and Electric Company's rate hike proposal A1007009. SDG&E's PeakShift at Work/PeakShift at Home rate hike proposal is based on time of usage and designed to force small business and residential customers from the business-time peak power market. Hearings on evidence are scheduled in San Francisco for March 2011, and the due date on a proposed Decision by CPUC's Ryan and Administrative Law Judge Jessica T. Hecht is July 2011.

Under the A1007009 proposal, SDG&E's residential and small business customers will be billed by time of electricity usage under PeakShift at Work/PeakShift at Home (PSW/PSH) rates at up to ten times the off-peak rates for evening and weekends. Opposition against PSW/PSH centers on the lack of any quantitative analysis by SDG&E indicating that its proposal actually provides net benefits to customers and is cost effective. Also, PSW/PSH approval amounts to a countywide experiment in social design by imposing higher costs for using energy during business hours and forcing popular usage increases during non-peak hours. Despite lack of notice by local chambers of commerce, PSW appears to be anti-competitive for small business power customers, and the proposal comes at a time when local and national economic conditions point to a sustained period of anemic economic growth or no growth at all.

Part of SDG&E's proposal is a cost recovery request to bill customers $118 million in advertising and other related costs for SDG&E to inform small business and residential consumers of PSW/PWH rates. Despite the millions requested from customers for advertising, SDG&E attorneys insist that PSW/PSH terminology has been designed to be easily understood by ratepayers.

Parties in opposition to the A1007009 application already include CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN), the City of San Diego, and Disability Rights Advocates.

Smart meters are a key component of PSW/PSH, and smart meters provide the ability for the local power utility to power down smart appliances tied to the smart grid. Smart meters have shown themselves to be problematic in certain San Diego neighborhoods when receiving software updates, and earlier smart meter versions have been shown to be vulnerable to circumstances similar to computer hacking over the Internet. Under the PSW/PSH proposal by SDG&E and without human meter readers employed anymore, SDG&E must base monthly billings at variable rates on the credibility of smart meters that appear to have a rather short mean time before failure.

In the Pacific Gas and Electric Company service area, at least one customer has filed an application to re-visit previous CPUC decisions allowing smart meters in and around San Francisco and other PG&E service areas, insisting that the utility rather than ratepayers pay for the electricity meter replacements. The consumer application to reconsider previous CPUC smart meter decisions comes at a time when PG&E faces severe criticism and extensive liability for the explosive catastrophic failure of a high-pressure gas transmission line in the suburban neighborhood of San Bruno.

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California Public Utilities Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan issued the scoping memorandum at the end of September for San Diego Gas and Electric Company's rate hike proposal A1007009. SDG&E's PeakShift at Work/PeakShift at Home rate hike proposal is based on time of usage and designed to force small business and residential customers from the business-time peak power market. Hearings on evidence are scheduled in San Francisco for March 2011, and the due date on a proposed Decision by CPUC's Ryan and Administrative Law Judge Jessica T. Hecht is July 2011.

Under the A1007009 proposal, SDG&E's residential and small business customers will be billed by time of electricity usage under PeakShift at Work/PeakShift at Home (PSW/PSH) rates at up to ten times the off-peak rates for evening and weekends. Opposition against PSW/PSH centers on the lack of any quantitative analysis by SDG&E indicating that its proposal actually provides net benefits to customers and is cost effective. Also, PSW/PSH approval amounts to a countywide experiment in social design by imposing higher costs for using energy during business hours and forcing popular usage increases during non-peak hours. Despite lack of notice by local chambers of commerce, PSW appears to be anti-competitive for small business power customers, and the proposal comes at a time when local and national economic conditions point to a sustained period of anemic economic growth or no growth at all.

Part of SDG&E's proposal is a cost recovery request to bill customers $118 million in advertising and other related costs for SDG&E to inform small business and residential consumers of PSW/PWH rates. Despite the millions requested from customers for advertising, SDG&E attorneys insist that PSW/PSH terminology has been designed to be easily understood by ratepayers.

Parties in opposition to the A1007009 application already include CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN), the City of San Diego, and Disability Rights Advocates.

Smart meters are a key component of PSW/PSH, and smart meters provide the ability for the local power utility to power down smart appliances tied to the smart grid. Smart meters have shown themselves to be problematic in certain San Diego neighborhoods when receiving software updates, and earlier smart meter versions have been shown to be vulnerable to circumstances similar to computer hacking over the Internet. Under the PSW/PSH proposal by SDG&E and without human meter readers employed anymore, SDG&E must base monthly billings at variable rates on the credibility of smart meters that appear to have a rather short mean time before failure.

In the Pacific Gas and Electric Company service area, at least one customer has filed an application to re-visit previous CPUC decisions allowing smart meters in and around San Francisco and other PG&E service areas, insisting that the utility rather than ratepayers pay for the electricity meter replacements. The consumer application to reconsider previous CPUC smart meter decisions comes at a time when PG&E faces severe criticism and extensive liability for the explosive catastrophic failure of a high-pressure gas transmission line in the suburban neighborhood of San Bruno.

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Comments
2

This is just another "SHOCKING" attempt to continue to rip off their customers in order to pass huge profits to shareholders!

Notice that they also want to "bill customers $118 million in advertising and other related costs for SDG&E to inform small business and residential consumers of PSW/PWH rates."

We need a new CPUC Board that is not just a cheering section for our Public Utilities!

Hopefully our next Governor will kick some Public Utility BUTT...

Here are some $MART Meter & Utility links: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/4395

Oct. 7, 2010

RE #1:

CPUC could use some shaking up, but a big part of the problem is that CPUC has to run with the proposals and supporting arguments that are filed with it, and those mostly come from public utilities seeking permission to bill us for something we didn't ask for. Examples include the uninsured wildfire legal expense billings (WEBA) that SDG&E and other utilities have requested for the overhead power lines that not even fed-funded AIG will insure completely, SDG&E's Z-Factor insurance surprise application where those brightest people in the room simply had no clue that insurance rates would go up after their 2007 wildfire surprise for the rest of us, and of course there are PSW/PSH, Sunrise Powerlink, and the wildfire prevention plan that involves cutting power to county residents that includes water districts needing to pump water for firefighting.

CPUC can be influenced by customers filing individual complaints and by commenting on or protesting against utilities' filed applications, but this works best if one is at least somewhat familiar with the issues and prior decisions found on the docket card at http://cpuc.ca.gov ...

With SDG&E's current top executive having been a former CPUC commissioner, it's easy to predict that ordinary reasonable customer input will have a hard time penetrating into that relatively closed system of public utility execs and CPUC decisions-makers.

Oct. 7, 2010

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