SDG&E May Raise Rates to Prevent Wildfires

San Diego Gas &Electric says it has already spent more than a billion dollars trying to prevent wildfires from its end, including replacing wooden poles with these big steel ones. Now the problem is they say they need to do so much more.

"Our goal is to have zero fire starts with our equipment and we’re working on that every day," said SDG&E spokesperson Helen Gao.

That includes putting miles of power lines underground, installing more than 170 fire monitoring stations and hiring full-time meteorologists to watch the weather. 

"Safety is our number one priority and it really deserves every investment that we can make," Gao said.

While the utility has spent $1.5 billion in the prevention of wildfires, it will need $6 billion more to continue fortifying the county against a destructive fire, she said. 

To raise those funds, the utility wants to increase rates. However, SDG&E will need permission to do so. That's something they were denied in 2017. 

El Cajon homeowner Larry Becker said he's willing to pay higher rates if it helps protect his home and the homes of his family members. 

"A lot of my friends did lose their houses and loved ones from previous fires," Becker said.

Becker has been busy doing some improvements around his property and he wants to see SDG&E do the same, even if his bill goes up. 

Despite all of SDG&E's efforts, Gao said risk studies commissioned by the utility reveal there is a 5 percent change their equipment could cause a major wildfire. 

Contact Us