CPUC to rule on SDG&E’s demand for free pass on wildfire damage-related costs

SAN FRANCISCO (KUSI) — The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is scheduled to rule Thursday on San Diego Gas & Electric’s controversial demands for a free pass on costs related to wildfires its own negligence contributed to.

PG&E, potentially facing billions in fire-related costs itself, has weighed in to urge the CPUC to allow SDG&E to bill customers despite long-standing principles to the contrary. 

Both companies, along with Southern California Edison, want the Commission to change the rules that require investor-owned utilities to cover costs stemming from their own mismanagement or negligence out of profits.

The cabal of California’s three largest utilities is lobbying for the change at the exact same time as the CPUC is investigating PG&E’s potential responsibility for recent deadly wildfires in the North Bay.

The decision made in the SDG&E case could establish a precedent PG&E would later rely on if its’ costs become contentious.

“The law basically says if you break it you pay for it,” said Thomas Long, Legal Director of TURN. “The utilities would add insult to injury with their self-serving suggestion that the courts’ application of inverse condemnation to claims against them for property damage from the 2007 wildfires somehow negates requirements that they operate prudently.” 

Long said PG&E, SDG&E and SoCal Edison were "dead wrong in trying to avoid accountability."

The CPUC’s judges have already recommended that the Commission deny the utilities’ request, but SDG&E, PG&E and SoCal Edison have been lobbying relentlessly for one of the five Commissioners to pen an alternate awarding them customer funding for wildfire expenses.  

“What they want the CPUC to do is contrary to law and common sense,” Long said. “The Commission has no legitimate legal option other than to deny their outlandish request.”

The vote is on the agenda for the CPUC’s regularly scheduled meeting, 9:30 am, 505 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco.

Categories: Local San Diego News