CA - State to raise electric rates in San Diego by 19% : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

State to raise electric rates in San Diego by 19% By Seth Hettena The Associated Press June 12th, 2001

SAN DIEGO -- San Diegans, who were the first Californians to receive skyrocketing power bills, will soon experience another first -- a hike in electricity rates ordered by the state.

The California Department of Water Resources, which recently took over electricity buying for the state’s cash-strapped utilities, is raising San Diego Gas & Electric rates 19 percent to collect $915 million the agency says it needs to make those purchases.

SDG&E customers were the first to be exposed to unrestricted jumps in power bills under the state’s 1996 deregulation law, which is widely blamed for the current energy crisis. After local residents saw power bills double and triple in a tight market last summer, the California Legislature stepped in and froze rates.

The DWR will now raise those rates an average of 2.77 cents per kilowatt-hour, to 17.87 cents. A kilowatt-hour is enough to light 10 100-watt lamps for one hour.

SDG&E, which serves 1.2 million customers in San Diego and Orange counties, has a separate request to raise rates an additional 16 percent, or 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, before the state Public Utilities Commission.

The utility says the increase would raise $800 million to cover losses it incurred paying skyrocketing prices for electricity before the DWR stepped in and began buying power in January.

Typically, requests for rate increases, such as SDG&E’s, go through the PUC, which reviews such proposals and sets "reasonable" rates. But the law signed in January that gave the DWR the power to buy electricity also gave the agency the power to solely judge the merits of its own rate increase proposals. The department has determined that the SDG&E increase is reasonable, spokesman Oscar Hidalgo said Monday.

-- PHO (, June 12, 2001

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