SDG&E wants ratepayers to foot bill to cover damages from 2007 fires

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Utility bills went up again this year, yet SDG&E wants another rate hike to recover damages from the disastrous fires of 2007 that killed two people and destroyed 1,300 homes.

SDG&E was found to be responsible for much of the fire damage by its neglect, yet it wants its customers to help foot the bill.

Insurance and third party contractors covered much of the utility’s liability except for $397 million it wants to bill its customers.

We’re already been punished for having to cover higher fire insurance premiums for SDG&E. Now, we’re facing higher monthly bills to cover what the utility’s insurance did not cover when its utility wires sparked three destructive fires.

That proposed rate hike will begin in Escondido when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opens a public hearing January 9th.

"They’re gonna have the public participation hearings in San Diego but those don’t mean anything, its not part of the record, its just kind of an opportunity for the public to vent," said Attorney Mike Aguirre. "The hearings that don’t really matter where you get the dog and pony show and all the contributors up and and then there’s the hearings that really matter."

For years, Aguirre has been fighting the commission on several fronts to protect San Diego’s ratepayers. He said the important hearings will come later in San Francisco.

"SDG&E for some reason is okay with having the public participation hearings here where they can have all their contributors show up but they are actually opposing having a hearing about  the fire in San Diego, in San Diego," Aguirre said.

Those hearings will be on the record and Aguirre will be questioning SDG&E officials under oath.

SDG&E has been winning the rate hike battles because it’s the wealthiest of the three utilities in Southern California and it has great influence before the commission.

"SDG&E does a better job of ripping off its San Diego ratepayers than PG&E and SoCal Edison do ripping off their rate payers," Aguirre said.

Aguirre also said this results from SDG&E spreading its wealth.

"The elected officials respond by allowing them to overcharge. That’s why we have among the highest rates in the country here in San Diego," Aguirre said.

Aguirre said when a disaster happens, it’s a money making opportunity the way that SDG&E operates in front of the CPUC.

Categories: Local San Diego News