San Diego Gas and Electric proposed monthly electricity bill increases to fund regional plans to reduce emissions and the state-wide goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
The average residential customer would see a $9 increase in electricity, and $9.60 increase in their gas bills in 2023 if the proposal is approved by the State Public Utilities Commission.
“Average electric bills at our company are the lowest among California’s electric investor-owned utilities, but we also recognize this is a difficult time to ask our customers to pay more given the state of the economy and inflationary pressures and are mindful of every dollar that we ask our customers to pay," SDG&E President Bruce Folkmann said in a statement. "Given the changes in climate and the growing need for a clean energy future, this will ultimately result in improvements that create long-term benefits now and for future generations. The budget proposal we put forth represents the conscientious efforts of hundreds of SDG&E employees to strike the right balance between holding down costs and making the infrastructure investments needed for a clean energy future.”
Residential customers saw their bills increase 7.8 percent on their SDG&E bills at the start of the year. Gas rated with the utility jumped to 24.6 percent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the San Diego region had the highest average energy price in the country in January through April.
The utility says it expects the state Public Utility Commission to make a decision within 18 months. If approved, the rate hikes would start Jan. 1, 2024.
SDG&E plans to invest in the following programs with rate-payer dollars:
- Expand, operate and maintain electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure throughout the region.
- Modernize the electric grid with cutting-edge technology to enable the integration of significantly more solar and wind generation, residential and commercial-scale battery storage, EV charging, and customer transition from natural gas to electric appliances.
- Install more utility-scale battery systems at strategic locations to maximize the use of solar energy.
- Develop additional clean fuel sources, such as green hydrogen for transportation and electric generation with the goal of supporting greater electrification.
- Reduce wildfire risk and minimize Public Safety Power Shutoffs by hardening 590 miles of power lines between 2022 and 2024, either by burying them underground or insulating them.
- Cut the risk for power outages by adopting grid automation and remote sensing tools and replacing aging or failure-prone equipment.
- Give customers more control, access, and insights into their energy usage by implementing the next generation of smart meters.
- Upgrade microgrids with zero-emissions energy resources to keep vulnerable communities and critical resources.
- Strengthen cybersecurity and technology infrastructure to address the risk of ever-changing security threats that could potentially disrupt business operations and place customer and employee health and safety at risk.
- Accelerate the replacement of aging plastic natural gas pipelines to improve safety and reliability and reduce methane emissions.