Two judges have recommended a rejection of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)'s request to charge customers more to cover the costs of the 2007 wildfires.
SDG&E wants to charge $1.70 more every month for the next six years to recover $379 million in costs from the wildfires.
It's been nearly ten years since the deadly and destructive Witch, Rice and Guejito fires. The brush fires destroyed more than 25,000 homes and buildings and left three dead.
CalFire determined that SDG&E lines caused the fires, but the company argued that they were not at fault.
According to SDG&E spokesman Hanan Eisenman, in the Witch Fire, wind caused two lines to touch and in the Guejito, it caused a cable bundle to break. During the Rice Fire, a broken tree branch blew off and hit power lines.
“SDG&E strongly disagrees with today’s proposed decision. The 2007 wildfires were a natural disaster that impacted nearly everyone in San Diego. The conditions included the worst Santa Ana wind event this region has ever seen, combined with high heat, low humidity and hurricane-force winds as high as 92 mph," a statement from SDG&E read.
The company said that they have a safe system, and the wildfires happened in circumstances beyond their control.
“This is a preliminary decision and is not supported by the evidence. It also is not consistent with the determination made by federal regulators who reviewed the same facts. We plan to vigorously challenge it," the statement read.
County Supervisor Danine Jacob, whose district was impacted the most by the fires, said that rejecting "SDG&E's outrageous bid" was the right one, given that their equipment caused the fire.