Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Power (Company) Play

San Diego Gas & Electric is upping our rates again, but not for the reasons that one might imagine, such as increased cost of production due to higher prices for coal and gas. They have some rather creative justifications.

One is that consumers used less electricity last year, and what with fixed costs the cost per kilowatt-hour was higher. San Diego had the coldest summer in recorded history this past year, so air conditioners were off much of the time, but that doesn’t mean that they will be off next summer. There is something rather diabolical in the idea that you get urged to practice conservation and then are charged a higher rate when you comply.

SDG&E also installed “smart meters” for every residence, and didn’t charge us for them. It allows us to look at our usage online and see what we are using at any given moment, and I’m sure there are some people in San Diego who want to do that. It also allows SDG&E to read our usage online and eliminates the guy walking around reading them, which saves them money. They nonetheless feel the need to raise rates to pay for the meters. Of course they do.

My favorite one has to do with the wildfires of 2007, some of which were caused by high winds blowing down SDG&E power lines, with the consequent sparks causing fires. The company was sued for the cost of putting out the fires, lost the suit, and had to pay a whole bunch of money to the county to compensate taxpayers. Guess where that money is coming from. You don’t get a medal for that softball; SDG&E is raising their rates to cover their cost.

Question; what’s the difference between a San Diego County taxpayer and an SDG&E customer? No, seriously, what’s the difference?

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