San Diego

SDG&E Requests Public Utilities Commission for Rate Hike to Cover Past Wildfire Costs

SDG&E wants to charge $1.70 more every month for the next six years to recover $379 million in costs from the wildfires

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is asking for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow them to charge customers more to cover 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.

A public meeting was held in Escondido on Monday evening. Hundreds of people gathered at the conference center to share their thoughts on the proposed rate hike.

Some argued that customers should not have to pay for the damage caused by the wildfires adding that it should be the SDG&E's responsibility.

"They want to spit in our face and have us be charged for the bill that they paid, plus all the people not even involved in the fire," said Janice Shaffer.

Shaffer was among the group of people at the meeting who had lost their home in the fires.

"To me its unconscionable, and as a stockholder, SDG&E needs to pay," another fire victim told NBC 7. "The rate hike should not be given to those who are victimized."

CalFire determined that SDG&E lines caused the fires but the company argued that they were not at fault.

"We understand the impact of this fire and we are truly sorry," said Dave Gier, Vice President of Electric Transmission with SDG&E.

He added: "We believe the damage caused by those fires were out of our control."

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.

"The fires were caused by the unprecedented Santa Ana winds we had that day," Eisenman said.

He added that the winds were a common denominator for all the fires.

A CPUC hearing will be held on Jan. 23.

For anyone unable to attend Monday night's meeting, you can email your comments to the CPUC at or go to their website for more information. 

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