Originally published February 23, 2010 at 4:27 p.m., updated February 24, 2010 at 12:01 p.m.
Advocates for customers are urging California regulators to reject a proposed $29 million rate increase to cover San Diego Gas & Electric's increased fire insurance costs.
The Division of Ratepayer Advocates within the Public Utilities Commission says SDG&E hasn't proved its case for the increase. The DRA says SDG&E's premiums rose partly because of insurers' interest in "loss coverage" for the 2007 fires. State investigators say SDG&E lines caused three of the fires. Ed Moldavsky of the DRA says SDG&E had to show that the increase in insurance costs "is somehow not related to the practices of the utility," says Moldavsky. "And DRA takes the position that these increased insurance expenses are not outside the control of the utility."
SDG&E in written comments said it strongly disagrees with the DRA and its mis-characterization of the facts. All of the state's big utilities, it said, saw their fire insurance premiums skyrocket.