SAN DIEGO - A downtown high rise that serves as Sempra Energy’s corporate headquarters had lights on all night on nearly every floor during a four-month Team 10 investigation.
Sempra Energy owns San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas Company.
Team 10 took night pictures and video of the brightest building on the city’s skyline, during times when the building appeared locked and the parking garage was closed.
A Sempra spokesperson told Team 10 there is an explanation for the night lights. Sabra Lattos said more than 17,000 people work for Sempra, an international company that provides power to more than 30 million people. Twenty million of its customers are in Southern California.
"The lights that are on overnight are facilities that are being used by employees doing business across multiple time zones," Lattos said.
Lattos couldn't say exactly how many people work in the building, located at 101 Ash Street in San Diego. She estimated the after-hours staff was close to 100. Lattos said approximately 750 people work in the building.
"There is something very ironic and very disturbing about seeing that building lit up in the middle of the night," said Charles Langley, a consumer advocate with the Utility Consumers Action Network. Langley said his organization has taken more than 17,000 calls from people who can't afford to keep the lights on.
"(Sempra is) making so much money they can literally burn it up at night in electricity," he said.
In 2011, Sempra Energy reported revenue close to $10 billion.
Lattos said the lights are on a timer system and use energy efficient light bulbs. She said someone is in the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"It could seem like a lot, but it’s all for legitimate reasons," she said.