Federal Agency Confirms San Diegans Paying Highest Electricity Rates in Country

by on February 4, 2022 · 3 comments

in Energy, San Diego

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed that San Diegans are paying the highest electricity rates than any other city in the country.

San Diegans paid an average of 36.5 cents per kilowatt-hour last December. In comparison, Los Angeles residents paid 34% less (24 cents) and Riverside County paid even less, 23.8 cents per kWh.

San Diego even passed Hawaii, which is not even on the mainland. Hawaii’s average rate was almost 3 cents less per kilowatt-hour than San Diego’s rates.

Edward Lopez, Executive Director of Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN) told CBS8

“The price per kilowatt is the highest in the country. San Diego is even out-passing Hawaii.”

Why? An SDG&E spokesperson told Channel 8 that the company has spent $3 billion hardening their system, replacing wood poles with steel and undergrounding their wires. 2007 wildfires were started by the company’s power lines.

Lopez’s response was to question why ratepayers have to foot the entire bill, without any help from shareholders.

“SDG&E has implemented a number of mitigation measures that are good, but remember, SDG&E’s customers ultimately pay for this, not the shareholder of SDG&E.”

News8 reported:

SDG&E is owned by Sempra, a publicly traded company. In their most recent year-to-year figures, Sempra reported a profit of over $9 billion, but SDG&E recently raised our rates again.

“The profitability, the rate of return that SDG&E gives back to Sempra, is incredible,” Lopez added.

SDG&E is not allowed to simply raise rates on their own, they have to get permission from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

But Lopez says that the commission seems to always put politics over people. “UCAN has been around for at least three decades and during that time, we consistently argue rates are too high, program costs are too high, profits are too high, but yet the commission never really approves to go backward.” …

Lopez pointed CBS 8 to a chart that is actually from the CPUC. It shows SDG&E’s rate increases starting in 2013 are expected to outpace inflation by almost 70% by 2030.

News8 also reported that frustrated San Diegans can’t get in touch with company to complain.

FYI: here are the San Diego city council members who approved the city contract with SDG&E along with Tood Gloria: Campbell, Campillo, Cate, Elo-Rivera, von Wilpert, Whitburn.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mat Wahlstrom February 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

As Gomer Pyle would say, “Well, surprise surprise surprise!”

The franchise agreement approved last year for $80M, under the same terms as brought SDG&E profits of $824M in 2020 alone, only cost them $125K in pay-offs to the politicians who made it happen, https://obrag.org/2021/05/sempra-greased-the-skids-for-gloria-and-council-democrats-to-approve-sdge-franchise-agreement/

The reason Los Angeles pays 34% less is because their power is from a municipally owned utility that’s accountable to the public not private shareholders. Recall how feverishly most of our current electeds talking about ‘equity’ worked to kill that from happening? https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/story/2021-02-26/municipal-utility-discussion

Gloria, Campbell, Campillo, Cate, Elo-Rivera, von Wilpert, Whitburn.

Remember them every time you open your bill and the next time you fill out your ballot.


retired botanist February 6, 2022 at 3:02 pm

“SDG&E is not allowed to simply raise rates on their own, they have to get permission from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).”

Yes, they do and, egregiously, they plan like several years in advance so they ALWAYS have price hikes in the queue. And no surprise, they always seem to be granted. Its scandalous.
And NorCal’s bills (PG&E) have a longer list of “surcharges” than the feckin’ usage! “recovery fees”, “competition transition charges”, “energy cost recovery amount” (um, that’s the consumer getting them out of bankruptcy), “power charge indifferent adjustment” (um, that one is to protect them from those that choose solar and/or going off the grid), “wildfire hardening charge” (aka as the consumer is paying for their negligence).
Seriously? Energy regulation is absent and these companies and the utilities commissions are out of control! Ugh!


Judy Swink February 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm

And it’s not simply increased rates per kWh. We’re also being gouged by the Baseline Rates established by the CPUC (with help, no doubt, from Utility lobbyists.

Our Baseline rates have steadily diminished in the last 5 years, ensuring that in particularly cold or hot periods, ratepayers are more likely to exceed the 130% of Baseline Rate and be kicked into the far higher rate for kWh used above the 130%.

My bill for Dec.-Jan. 2014-15 was $69.18 for 348 kWh use of a Baseline Rate of 548. Same Baseline rate in Dec.-Jan. 2015-16, bill for 360 kWh used was $66.10.

In 2016-17, D-Ja., Baseline was 480. I used 460, billed for $75.65.

In 2017-18, D.-Ja., Baseline was 419, used 280, billed $68.00. Same baseline rate for that period in 2018-2019, used 357, billed $85.46.

In 2019-20, my Baseline dropped to 383, I used 406, billed $113.96.

The killers are in 2020-21 & 2021-22. Kicked into the above 130% rate for last year & this year. Baseline rate 20-21 290 kWh & 273 kWh, respectively.

Used 479 kWh in Dec.-Jan. 2020-21, billed $147.97. In Dec.-Jan. 2021-22, Baseline dropped to 273, used 459, billed $198.43.


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