The California Public Utilities Commission voted June 30 to reduce proposed charges for state energy contracts to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. customers by an estimated $368 million.
The decision reduces almost by half the amount of additional costs to be covered by SDG & E; customers under the energy contracts that had been entered into by the state during the energy crisis. Originally, the PUC voted to allocate $790 million in additional costs to SDG & E; customers over the life of the contracts. Today’s ruling reduces that amount to $422 million.
“Efforts to change the PUC’s earlier decision received strong support from a coalition of community and political leaders, as well as widespread support from hundreds of customers and local governments served by SDG & E;,” said Rob Rundle, principal regional planner for the San Diego Association of Governments.
In addition to Sandag, he said, key members of the coalition included the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, the city of San Diego, dozens of cities in the area served by SDG & E;, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
During the California energy crisis, the state Department of Water Resources entered into long-term contracts to ensure that customers of cash-strapped utilities would continue to receive power. In December 2004, the PUC approved a controversial formula that the San Diego coalition argued would have created an unfair burden on SDG & E; customers. SDG & E; filed a request for a rehearing, which led to today’s revised decision.
“This is a tremendous victory for the entire San Diego region,” said Mitch Mitchell, vice president of public policy and communications for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It proves that the process can work, when we are organized and speak with one unified voice. We are thrilled and (were) pleasantly surprised when the final vote was taken.”