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Key State Commissioner Reverses Himself, Urges Customers Pay For SDG&E’s ‘07 Fire Costs

Above: The Witch Fire, which started outside of Ramona in 2007, burned hundreds of structures and forced thousands of evacuations.

Aired 12/20/12 on KPBS News.

In an about-face, a state regulator recommended late yesterday that customers pick up the tab for San Diego Gas & Electric's uninsured costs for the 2007 wildfires.

In an about-face, a state regulator recommended late yesterday that customers pick up the tab for San Diego Gas & Electric's uninsured costs for the 2007 wildfires. The revised opinion confirms ratepayers' worst suspicions and represents a potential victory for SDG&E whose lines ignited the fires that killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

In October, California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Simon rejected the '07 fire reimbursement for SDG&E, but yesterday, in an 11th hour revision to that opinion, Simon backtracked and recommended that regulators allow SDG&E to recoup the bulk of those costs from customers instead of shareholders. The company expects the costs to exceed $1 billion.

For weeks, ratepayer advocates publicly expressed dismay at a flurry of private meetings between SDG&E and state regulators. They believe Simon's reversal are a result of intense, closed-door lobbying by SDG&E.

Regulators are scheduled to vote on Simon's latest opinion this morning. Ratepayer groups say any vote at this point violates their due process because of the way the changes were made and the timing. If regulators vote anyway, one ratepayer group predicted "San Diegans will revolt."

Comments

Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | December 20, 2012 at 6:52 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I guess we know he is really working for SDG&E. They cause they problem and we pay the price for corporate mismanagement. Yet again.

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Avatar for user 'gmlagos'

gmlagos | December 20, 2012 at 8:13 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I with the government actually worked for the citizens that VOTED them in and not lobbyist!

Outrageous!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 20, 2012 at 11:46 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Ahh, I guess someone took him out to a nice dinner and bought his family a little trip to disney world or the bahamas. That is how it works here.

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Avatar for user 'TheKindGardenersCollective'

TheKindGardenersCollective | December 20, 2012 at 1:14 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I'll wager my work-truck against just a dollar that Timothy Simon goes right to work for SEMPRA or SDGE, right after his upcoming retirement at the end of this year.

At his FINAL meeting as a rate commissioner, he sure gave them both a nice gift!

Sadly, this is not outrageous, rather, this is normal.

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Avatar for user 'Taken4Granted'

Taken4Granted | December 20, 2012 at 1:58 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Why, Why. We did not cause this fire. Shareholders should swallow this cost NOT the customers. Surely, surely this guy's decision as been compromised to the core.
Does not make any sense.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 21, 2012 at 9:59 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Intense closed-door lobbying.

lol

Does that mean they used "enhanced" interrogation techniques?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 21, 2012 at 11:25 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

TheKindGardeners - You are exactly right, and I bet we will see this happen. That is how every business deal is done.

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