Sempra Energy executives hope that state regulators will boost a proposed four-year, $723 million rate increase slated for utility customers in San Diego and southern Orange counties. Sempra subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric has urged the California Public Utilities Commission and the lead commissioner in the proceeding, Mark Ferron, to restore several proposed cuts to its revenue requests, applied retroactively to the start of 2012.
One key issue is how annual increases are calculated from 2013 to 2015. The state Division of Ratepayer Advocates estimates the SDG&E approach, using a utility-industry index, would add an additional $103 million to rates over the current proposal. SDG&E estimates $41 million is at stake.
“We have made our concerns known and we expect, with a better understanding of the facts, most if not all funding will be restored,” Sempra CEO Debra Reed told analysts Thursday. Reed said a proposal to peg annual increases to the Urban Consumer Price Index would be an unfair departure from previous decisions at the utilities commission, while consumer advocates say it’s important to consider what people can afford.
The proposed decision would bump up SDG&E revenues retroactively by $140.2 million to $1.75 billion, effective Jan. 1, 2012. That 8.7 percent increase would be applied to bills gradually to ease the impact.
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