4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Erroneous SDG&E/IOU WEBA Assumption – Part I

After comments and protests were received by California's Public Utilities Commission following the filing of an amended A0908020 application by attorneys for San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric companies as investor owned utilities (IOUs in CPUC documents), the IOU attorneys filed a joint response to address the concerns in those protests by various agencies, firms and individuals.

In the IOU response, one error made by the attorneys was stating that wildfires were natural disasters, in the same context as “earthquakes and other natural disasters,” and wildfires are therefore subject to the same Catastrophic Event Memorandum Account treatment as those other natural disasters.

In SDG&E employee testimony to CPUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division regarding SDG&E's role in the 2007 San Diego Wildfire Complex, it was revealed that the managing director of SDG&E's Vegetation Management Program failed to have a tree trimmed according to a VMP computer system notice given by an on-site “pre-inspection” contractor that the tree needed trimming in the next “0-3 months.” Three months later, the untrimmed tree was the ignition point of the Rice Fire. The SDG&E VMP manager further testified that because the contractor did not send a written memo repeating the earlier VMP system input, the SDG&E manager then chose to rely on computer forecasts that declared the tree was not ready for trimming.

In early September this year, a San Bruno high-pressure gas transmission line operated by PG&E catastrophically failed and destroyed about fifty homes in a gas-fed wildfire worthy of national headlines. Among the dead was a CPUC employee investigating earlier reports by PG&E that the pipeline needed replacing, but PG&E failed to take the initiative and make repairs to the inspected defense preparedness activity which was ultimately destroyed with loss of lives.

Neither case is comparable to earthquakes or other natural disasters because in both cases, slow public utility responses to previously-detected problems ultimately led to catastrophic incidents of national significance.

If approved by CPUC, the Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA) billing authority to IOUs will allow SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E to bill customers for any legal or other costs relating to their uninsured wildfire liabilities. Major objections by CPUC's own CPSD and Division of Ratepayer Advocates include the unlimited liability to consumers in the IOU proposal along with no provisions to exclude costs attributable to negligence, regulatory violations or illegal acts by utilities.


Other WEBA protests on file with CPUC are noted in my previous post Many Opponents to new SDG&E/IOU Proposed WEBA Liability Limit which may be found by using the blog post title in the Reader site search box at the top of this page.

See previous post SDG&E Computer Model Failed to Predict 2007 Rice Wildfire regarding SDG&E's VMP manager testimony, with a link to that testimony before CPUC CPSD. The CPSD investigation was terminated by a settlement as described in previous post On "SDG&E reaches accord in wildfires".

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Judd Apatow and Steven Brill pursue the prison camp formula

These kids do as good a job of hiding food as Otto Frank did his family

After comments and protests were received by California's Public Utilities Commission following the filing of an amended A0908020 application by attorneys for San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric companies as investor owned utilities (IOUs in CPUC documents), the IOU attorneys filed a joint response to address the concerns in those protests by various agencies, firms and individuals.

In the IOU response, one error made by the attorneys was stating that wildfires were natural disasters, in the same context as “earthquakes and other natural disasters,” and wildfires are therefore subject to the same Catastrophic Event Memorandum Account treatment as those other natural disasters.

In SDG&E employee testimony to CPUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division regarding SDG&E's role in the 2007 San Diego Wildfire Complex, it was revealed that the managing director of SDG&E's Vegetation Management Program failed to have a tree trimmed according to a VMP computer system notice given by an on-site “pre-inspection” contractor that the tree needed trimming in the next “0-3 months.” Three months later, the untrimmed tree was the ignition point of the Rice Fire. The SDG&E VMP manager further testified that because the contractor did not send a written memo repeating the earlier VMP system input, the SDG&E manager then chose to rely on computer forecasts that declared the tree was not ready for trimming.

In early September this year, a San Bruno high-pressure gas transmission line operated by PG&E catastrophically failed and destroyed about fifty homes in a gas-fed wildfire worthy of national headlines. Among the dead was a CPUC employee investigating earlier reports by PG&E that the pipeline needed replacing, but PG&E failed to take the initiative and make repairs to the inspected defense preparedness activity which was ultimately destroyed with loss of lives.

Neither case is comparable to earthquakes or other natural disasters because in both cases, slow public utility responses to previously-detected problems ultimately led to catastrophic incidents of national significance.

If approved by CPUC, the Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA) billing authority to IOUs will allow SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E to bill customers for any legal or other costs relating to their uninsured wildfire liabilities. Major objections by CPUC's own CPSD and Division of Ratepayer Advocates include the unlimited liability to consumers in the IOU proposal along with no provisions to exclude costs attributable to negligence, regulatory violations or illegal acts by utilities.


Other WEBA protests on file with CPUC are noted in my previous post Many Opponents to new SDG&E/IOU Proposed WEBA Liability Limit which may be found by using the blog post title in the Reader site search box at the top of this page.

See previous post SDG&E Computer Model Failed to Predict 2007 Rice Wildfire regarding SDG&E's VMP manager testimony, with a link to that testimony before CPUC CPSD. The CPSD investigation was terminated by a settlement as described in previous post On "SDG&E reaches accord in wildfires".

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close