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SDG&E Seeks Customer Money To Help Pay 2007 Wildfire Costs

San Diego Gas and Electric is going back to California regulators to ask for permission to charge customers nearly $380 million for costs linked to the 2007 wildfires.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, home to the NFL's Chargers, serves as a shelter for thousands of people who were evacuated due to wildfires from numerous communities in San Diego County, Monday, Oct. 22, 2007.

The San Diego-based utility filed paperwork Friday asking to pass along 90 percent of the remaining the cost of expenses.

The blaze was one of the most destructive wildfires in California history, with 1,300 homes burned and two people killed.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by San Diego Gas and Electric equipment and that led to some $4 billion worth of claims against SDG&E.

It cost the utility $2.5 billion to settle those claims. About $420 million remains unpaid.

"The California Commission and the Federal Regulatory Commission have already determined that third party claims are a reasonable cost of doing business and they are recoverable," said Lee Schavrien, SDG&E's chief administrative officer.

The utility wants customers to pay 90 percent of the remaining bill. Shareholders would pay the other 10 percent.

The utility has recovered most of the money, but about $420 million is left unpaid. Schavlien said the company whittled down a huge bill.

In a recent statement, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob called that request outrageous and said customers shouldn't pay for the utility's wrongdoing.

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