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On December 20th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will decide a long-running case in which San Diego Gas & Electric wants ratepayers to pick up the tab for uninsured costs from the 2007 fires, for which the utility was found responsible. An administrative law judge has turned down the utility's bid. A commissioner, Timothy Simon, has said SDGE can get its customers to pick up the tab under certain circumstances in future fires, but not the 2007 ones. Ramona's Mussey Grade Road Alliance, which has actively intervened in the case, charged today (Dec. 16) that SDGE, in an ex parte filing, still wants a decision covering the 2007 fires, even though coverage for those fires has been eliminated in the decisions of both the administrative law judge and Commissioner Simon.

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Visduh Dec. 17, 2012 @ 8:08 a.m.

SDGE will keep trying as long as there is some possibility of prevailing. And there is every reason for them to do that. Those fire settlements that are not covered by insurance will reach a whopping sum, and it appears as if parent Sempra has opted to treat them as recoverable. Once "the fat lady sings", Sempra will have to take the financial hit in full, and that will not be well accepted by the investors and Wall Street. The pressure on the CPUC is intense, and the opponents cannot relax their efforts at all.


Don Bauder Dec. 17, 2012 @ 10:34 a.m.

Visduh: Yes, Sempra is still reporting in its filings that it expects to recover the uninsured sums. It certainly has the CPUC chairman, Michael Peevey, in its pocket, as well as commissioner Simon. This will be a test to see whether the other commissioners that Gov. Brown appointed will be able to overthrow or at least soften the pro-utility bias of Peevey and Simon. Best, Don Bauder


dwbat Dec. 17, 2012 @ 8:24 a.m.

Sempra can easily afford to pay for those costs. Compared to you and me, it's "coffee money" for that corporate colossus.


Don Bauder Dec. 17, 2012 @ 10:40 a.m.

dwbat: Coffee money or not, you know how the nexus of Wall Street and American business works today: the only important constituency is the shareholder (particularly inside shareholders). Everybody lives for the next quarter; long term thinking sank out of sight years ago. Sempra will stew over every penny per share that could upset Wall Street in any given quarter. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Dec. 17, 2012 @ 8:46 p.m.

While Sempra can "afford" those millions, i.e. without going under, its stock valuation will suffer a great deal if it has to expense them. It is far more than coffee money. It will have an impact on Sempra for sure, and could upset Wall Street a great deal. So, it will fight the fight to recover the costs to the last breath (I'm getting hyperbolic here) and will die the good death if it does not. Then, whatever the outcome, it will go on in its endless quest for more profit and more executive pay.


Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:29 a.m.

Visduh: Sempra stock is trading right around its 52-week high. At least thus far, Wall Street seems to think SDGE won't be disappointed by the CPUC. Wall Street is smacking its lips, chuckling gleefully how San Diego ratepayers will bail out Sempra investors. Best, Don Bauder


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