SDG&E raising rates again, some calling it a San Onofre bailout

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Gas & Electric is raising your utility bills again. The power company said it needs to produce more power now that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has shut down.

Former city attorney Mike Aguirre said Southern Californians have been charged more than $2 billion for defective steam generators in San Onofre and for the cost of electricity they have not received.

Aguirre said the Public Utilities Commission, which was formed to be a consumer watchdog, has allowed SDG&E to do so.

"Without even having a hearing… A convicted murderer would have had more due process protection," he said.

Now, Aguirre said is enough is enough. He and the Department of Ratepayer Advocates filed a motion demanding SDG&E and Southern California Edison, the plant's operator, reimburse customers for those costs.

Meanwhile, SDG&E is telling customers that it is raising rates again. Starting in September, those whose power bills are $100 a month will see their bills rise to about $115 a month. Those with a $250 monthly bill will see a $75 a month increase.

SDG&E defends the rate hike, saying it needs to offset costs of delivering more green energy, installing smart meters and filling the electricity gap left by the closure of San Onofre.

But attorney Maria Severson said not so fast.

"These steam generators were supposed to last 22 years. They lasted two years," she said. "So the ratepayers are paying for equipment that hasn't worked for a year and a half and paying for energy that has not been delivered."

Severson is encouraging SDG&E customers who are not happy about it to call the company and their local government leaders.

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