San Diego:Typical electric bill to hit $128 this week : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Typical electric bill to hit $128 this week By Craig D. Rose UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER August 29, 2000

Power companies will reach more deeply into the pockets of SDG&E electric customers this week as typical residential customers receive bills of about $128 for a quantity of power that cost $55 last year.

This week's bills, which will be mailed to about 240,000 customers, are up about $3 over those mailed last week. They continue a nearly unbroken string of weekly price hikes that began in June.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s typical bill is based upon a household using 500 kilowatt-hours monthly. The cost per kilowatt-hour, meanwhile, rose to 20.8 cents, up from 19.3 cents last week.

A recent order from the California Public Utilities Commission would let an estimated 70 percent of SDG&E's customers delay payment of about half the amount of their bills for roughly a year, when they would face full payment.

Legislation that would allow a greater number of customers to pay reduced amounts, and leave the fate of unpaid balances unclear, is under consideration by state lawmakers.

Each week, SDG&E calculates the cost of buying power for about one-fifth of its 1.2 million customers and bills them without markup, as required by regulation.

Doug Kline, a spokesman for Sempra Energy, parent company of SDG&E, warned that prices for next week's billing cycle appear headed even higher.

Sempra businesses include the generation and trading of electricity for profit.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 30, 2000

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