SAN DIEGO — The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a hearing in Escondido Monday afternoon to hear from the public on San Diego Gas & Electric’s budget. While the hearing was not focused on the potential new income-based fee structure, members of the public took it as a chance to make their voices heard in front of the CPUC.
The proposal from SDG&E’s fixed rates is below:
· Household income $28,000 – $69,000 = $34/month.
· Household income from $69,000 – $180,000 = $73/month.
· Household income $180,000+ = $128/month.
This does not include the electricity usage charges. San Diego is among the highest electricity prices in the nation.
Among the many San Diegans that spoke out against the idea was County Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents the North County, including Escondido.
“It’s really going to hurt, our middle class and our working folks here in North County, with the super rich, it will have little impact. San Diego County is already struggling with the increase in prices on everything due to rising inflation and there’s no indication our prices are ever going to be going down,” Desmond said. “Nobody should be making a payment based on a commodity we all use based on their income.”
Several people brought up the concern of how will SDG&E know customers’ income levels.
“Why don’t you do something for the public and tell San Diego Gas and Electric enough is enough, no more rate increases,” Escondido resident and concerned customer Ralph Ginese said during the hearing Monday.
In April, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric submitted a joint proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission. It will be up to the CPUC to decide whether the companies are allowed to implement the rate plan. No timeline has been announced for the CPUC’s decision.
The announcement from several public utility companies came in April, after the passage of Assembly Bill 205, which requires utilities to simplify power bills while reducing costs for residents with a lower income.