Utility Watchdog in San Diego

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) 2016 General Rate Case (GRC)

Filing Date: 

 Friday, November 14, 2014

 Background: 

General Rate Case (GRC) proceedings currently take place every three years. The GRC will set the amount of money that utilities such as SDG&E can collect through rates. These revenues recover the utility's operation and maintenance expenses, depreciation, and taxes and provide a ‘reasonable’ profit to the utility.

UCAN’s Policy Position:

Working closely with technical and financial experts, UCAN thoroughly examines SDG&E’s application and identifies wasteful spending of ratepayer dollars and isolating expenses that should be shouldered by SDG&E’s shareholders instead of ratepayers. Some of the issues we have identified include:

        -unrealistic customer sales and forecasts

        -unnecessary funding of new projects

        -unusual accounting changes that warrant further investigation

 During the last SDG&E GRC (2012) the efforts of intervenors such as UCAN reduced the amount of money that SDG&E was allowed to collect by $115 Million.

UPDATE: September 11, 2015, SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

 UCAN, SDG&E, and most of the other parties involved in SDG&E’s GRC have agreed to a settlement which is currently being considered by the CPUC. If accepted the settlement will

Reduce the amount of money that SDG&E is allowed to collect by nearly $100 Million

Keep open SDG&E branch offices in Oceanside, National City, and Downtown which SDG&E wanted to close

Set a fair “Service Establishment Fee” of $5.85 for new customers (SDG&E wanted to charge some customers $25)

Capped spending on unforeseen costs for certain gas programs including SDG&E’s Transmission Integrity Management Program (TIMP) and Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP). If SDG&E exceeds certain limits on this spending, they will have to justify any further expenses through a new proceeding. Previously, SDG&E was allowed to do the work and seek funding approval after the money was spent, leading to a lower level of scrutiny and potentially more wasteful spending by SDG&E.

UCAN Filings:

November 17, 2014, SDG&E Files Application – SDG&E seeks approval for $1.911 Billion in revenue.

December 22, 2014, UCAN Files Protest – UCAN cites numerous issues in need of further evaluation including the reasonableness of SDG&E’s costs, proposed spending on capital improvements, proposed accounting changes, and SDG&E’s shifting of financial risk from shareholders to ratepayers.

January 6, 2015, UCAN and TURN File Joint Prehearing Conference Statement – UCAN and The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a San Francisco based consumer advocacy group, filed a statement attempting to prevent SDG&E’s efforts to limit the time allowed for consumer groups to investigate and challenge this spending increase.

January 8, 2015, Prehearing Conference – UCAN is represented by Executive Director Don Kelly.

February 5, 2015, CPUC Issues Scoping Memo – CPUC more closely agrees with timeline proposed by UCAN and TURN than by SDG&E. A timeline for the various stages of the proceeding is established with a final decision expected in January 2016

 February 9, 2015, UCAN Files Notice of Intent – UCAN affirms its opposition to SDG&E’s application, focuses challenge on rate making, SDG&E’s forecasting of customers and sales, customer service, regulatory accounts, electric generation, and other issues.

 April 1, 2015, CPUC Notice of Reassignment – CPUC reassigns case from Commissioner Carla Peterman to President Michael Picker.

 June 1-10 2015 Public Participation Hearings in San Diego, Escondido, Oceanside, and El Cajon.

June 22- July 15, 2015, UCAN Executive Director Don Kelly participates in Evidentiary Hearings in San Francisco, presenting testimony and cross-examining SDG&E expert witnesses

September 11, 2015, UCAN joins Joint Motion for Adoption of Settlement Agreements for SDG&E and SoCal Gas

July 1, 2016, DECISION ADDRESSING THE GENERAL RATE CASES OF SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC COMPANY AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS COMPANY AND THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENTS

Docket Number: 

A.14-11-003

About UCAN

UCAN has represented the interests of San Diego County utility customers since 1983. UCAN focuses its efforts on the rates and services of San Diego Gas and Electric Company, telecommunications utilities and the City of San Diego Water Department.

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