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Regulatory Judge Rejects SDG&E Rate Hike

San Diego Gas & Electric’s pitch for a $29 million rate increase received a thumbs down Tuesday from a key figure at the California Public Utilities Commission.

SDG&E wanted the rate increase to cover what it says are higher fire insurance costs. In order to win the increase, SDG&E had to meet certain conditions. It had to show the costs were beyond its control and not a normal expense of doing business.

But Administrative Law Judge Maribeth A. Bushey has found that SDG&E failed to show by “a preponderance of the evidence” that its increased fire insurance costs were beyond its control. Bushey stated that the utility did not prove that the insurance costs could not have been affected by the utility’s management.

“SDG&E negotiated with prospective providers, accepted some offers and rejected others,” Bushey wrote in her decision.

The rate increase is now in the hands of the Public Utilities Commission. Commissioners can accept Bushey’s decision or approve SDG&E’s proposed rate increase.

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