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Ratepayer Group Says Climate Change Institutes Needless Expense

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Aired 4/19/09

California regulators voted to make state ratepayers foot the $600 million-dollar cost for a new institute on climate change. Which means San Diego Gas and Electric bills will be going up. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The California Public Utilities Commission says the extra charges on electric and natural gas bills will pay for the California Institute for Climate Solutions.

The PUC says the think tank will identify solutions to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

Mindy Spatt is with The Utility Reform Network . She says adding extra charges on electric bills comes at a bad time with millions of Californians facing foreclosures and job losses.

Spatt: The PUC should not be allowed to use electric bills as a blank check for any pet project they may want to fund.

Spatt says if the proposed institute is needed it should be funded through taxes not electric rates.

She says the average power customer of the state's three large investor-owned utilities, including

SDG&E, will pay an extra 25 cents per month to pay for the institute.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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