Two public utility officials reject SDG&E’s 2007 wildfire recovery plan
Two officials with the state utilities commission have rejected San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) request to establish a 2007 wildfire recovery cost account. Their separate recommendations are available for public comment and must still go before the full five-member commission.
On Monday, Oct. 15, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey denied SDG&E’s request for a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA) that would allow SDG&E to record its uninsured costs from the 2007 wildfires and seek to recover those costs from increased utility rates. Commissioner Timothy Simon offered an alternate decision that proposes a specialized wildfire account could be established with restrictions, but excludes the 2007 wildfire costs from the WEBA.
“As assigned commissioner to this state’s fire safety proceedings, I harbor grave concerns regarding the liability risk surrounding critical energy system infrastructure in this fire prone region of our great state,” said Simon.
It is estimated that SDG&E’s insurance shortfall from the October 2007 wildfires could exceed $600 million. Cal Fire determined SDG&E’s power lines caused the Witch, Guejito and Rice fires during the dry Santa Ana conditions.
Bushey’s proposed decision can viewed at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M030/K327/30327875.PDF. Simon’s alternate proposed decision is available at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M030/K329/30329200.PDF.
Members of the public can comment on the recommendations by Nov. 13, by contacting the CPUC’s public advisor’s office at 415-703-2074 or 866-849-8390, (TTY 866-836-7825), or firstname.lastname@example.org, or CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102. Reference proceeding number A.09-08-020.
The earliest the commissioners could vote on these items is Nov. 29, according to the CPUC.
SDG&E’s controversial WEBA application was the focus of a CPUC public hearing in San Diego in the spring that drew hundreds of ratepayers who protested the possibility of picking up the wildfire recovery costs on their utility bills.
Diane Conklin, spokesperson for the Mussey Grade Road Alliance, pushed for that hearing. In an email, Conklin said the alliance is reviewing the proposed decisions and has no comment at this time.
- Supervisor opposes utility’s recovery cost plan
- Commission agrees to public hearing on SDGE plan
- Hundreds turn out for hearings on SDG&E wildfire cost recovery plan
- Conklin continues push for local hearing on SDGE plan
- Support grows for hearing on wildfire costs
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