SDG&E to request consumer rate hike to cover wildfire costs

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SAN DIEGO - San Diego Gas & Electric will ask the California State Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase power rates to offset $379 million in loss for the 2007 wildfires.

SDG&E officials will make the request at a public hearing Monday starting around 2 p.m. at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Average increase in residential customer bills would be about $2 per month.

Wildfires that devastated thousands of San Diego County residents in 2007 were believed to have been started by SDG&E lines and poles, but the company has never publicly admitted to fault.

Protesters are expected to be waiting for company representatives outside.

“It’s going to mean six years of increased utility rates for a fire that we had nothing to do with causing,” said wildfire survivor Sally Crossno. “We can unite our voices once again like we did at the first protest in 2010 when there were 800 people that showed up. We want that same presence at this protest.”

Thousands of fire victims filed $5.6 billion in claims against the company.

“The ramifications are more than just passing on to rate payers. I will be paying for my own settlement and that wasn’t disclosed to me,” said wildfire survivor Jennifer Betts.