NBC 7 Responds

Expect Your Electric Bill to Go Up in 2023. SDG&E Says a Rate Hike is Imminent

NBC 7 Responds looked at why the utility says rates are jumping next year across San Diego County

NBC Universal, Inc.

First food, then gas, and now utility customers in San Diego County will be paying more for their energy use.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) is requesting another rate increase starting in January. It still needs to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, but that's likely to happen in December.

"We're seeing about an $28 increase for the average customer in January," said Scott Crider, the Senior Vice President of External and Operations Support.

Crider says it breaks down to an average of $15 per month increase for delivery, and $13 per month for electric generation. That means even if you are a customer of San Diego Community Power or Community Energy Alliance, your bill will also increase.

That delivery cost comes from investments in programs like wildfire safety and grid reliability, as well as a new billing system.

SDG&E says electric generation costs are up because of the high price of natural gas. Those historically high prices continue to push many utilities to raise their rates more than they expected as it becomes more expensive to generate electricity.

Separate from the price of natural gas, which is set monthly based on market prices, SDG&E is also raising its delivery fee for Natural Gas by $6.

Crider says they're warning customers about the increase now because many people said high energy bills caught them off guard in January.

"We started seeing gas prices really rise last year," said Crider. "We acknowledge that we could've done better with our communication and our transparency to make sure they're prepared."

SDG&E also insists the rate increase is not self-serving.

"SDG&E doesn't make any more profit," said Crider. "This is more we buy the electricity for a dollar and we sell it for a dollar."

Still, what are the options for struggling families who will be hit hardest by the rate increase?

"We've put in place debt forgiveness programs where customers could sign up for," said Crider. "We've put in 24-month payment plans for customers who need more time."

Crider also says they have secured more than $100 million in federal and state funds to help low-income families.

NBC 7 reached out to CEA and SDCP to see if they planned to raise electricity rates for their customers as well in 2023, but they did not immediately respond.

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