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SDG&E raises rates amid record profits

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 01, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Power bills in San Diego are going up. Effective Mar. 1, San Diego Gas & Electric is implementing a new rate increase. The company expects the increase to work out to a little more than $8 per month for the average customer.

While the company declined an on-camera interview, a spokesperson told ABC 10News the biggest factor in the increase is due to wildfire mitigation projects completed between 2019-2022.

The spokesperson says SDGE put up money for those projects up front, with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) agreeing to allow a rate increase to recoup the costs at a future date, which is now. The national rise in interest rates also played a role in the increase.

SDGE points out that even with the rate increase, customers are still paying less now than they did at this time in 2023, due to an 11% rate cut that took effect in January.

However, critics say SDGE should not be raising rates at all, considering its announcement this week that it broke its all-time record for earnings for a second consecutive year, leading to record performance for stockholders.

“That’s what makes people upset," said Mark Toney, executive director of the watchdog group TURN (The Utility Reform Network). "Right now, it feels like customers are bearing all the pain. And SDGE investors and executives get all the gain.”

TURN calls for CPUC to investigate the wildfire projects to ensure SDGE did not pad the projects to increase profit and “to make sure that the right measures were taken in the right locations with the right results and at the most cost-effective manner for the ratepayers.”

When ABC 10News asked SDGE about raising rates at a time of record profits, communications manager Anthony Wagner sent a statement:

“Affordability is state-wide a critical issue for our customers, and we remain focused on working with policymakers, regulators and other stakeholders on reforms that enable us to enhance public safety and meet the state’s ambitious clean energy goals while keeping energy bills manageable, especially for our most vulnerable families.”