Utility Watchdog in San Diego

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 would:

$1·         Reduce the amount of money that SDG&E is allowed to collect by nearly $100 Million

$1·         Keep open SDG&E branch offices in Oceanside, National City, and Downtown which SDG&E wanted to close

$1·         Set a fair “Service Establishment Fee” of $5.85 for new customers (SDG&E wanted to charge some customers $25)

$1·         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, file 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 ratemaking, 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

 

Docket Number: 

A.14-11-003