Power bill rate hike looms in near future

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SAN DIEGO – Power bills for San Diegans could be headed for a Spike.   State utility regulators are weighing in on a proposal to increase electricity and gas rates.

“it’s a very important proceeding because what it actually does is sets the operational budget for the utility for 3 to 4 years,’ said Stephanie Donovan, Spokesperson SDG&E.

Since December of 2010, the utility filed for a rate increase to offset what the company calls basic operating costs.

“We are still waiting to get a final decision from the regulators,” said Donovan. “We’re still collecting rates from our customers that were set in 2011.”sdge

A judge recently gave approval on the rate hike, but the state Public Utilities Commission has yet to weigh in.

If approval is reached, homeowners would likely see a 3 to 7% increase in rates.

“It’s really tough to give a dollar amount that’s why we put a percentage range,” said Donovan.  “Customers themselves can determine what it might mean for their bill.”

Donovan also said it depends on where customers live and how much electricity is consumed.

“Those people who live in hotter areas get lower baselines, in other words, we give them the lowest cost.  We understand their need,” said Donovan.

The proposed rate increase totals some $723 million over a four-year period for customers in San Diego and Southern Orange County.

“We must continue to serve all of our customers safely and reliably,” said Donovan. “Unfortunately we have seen the cost of doing business considerably.

Consumers who spoke to Fox 5 said no matter how you look at it, it’s about the bottom line.

“The fact remains someone’s pocket is involved in this,” said Bob Sgambellouri.

“They’re trying to make money wherever they can,” said Peter Schmalanberger. “They’re getting higher rates from wherever they’re getting electricity.

As for the rising rates, consumers just didn’t have much to say.

“No matter how far they go up.  No matter how much I yell, no one’s going to listen,” said Sgambellouri.

If approved, higher rates could go into effect as early as May.


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