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Month after reporting record profits, SDG&E hikes up rates in March

San Diego Gas & Electric is raising rates in March just a month after the utility reported record profits. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson says the rate hike eliminates some savings from January.

San Diego Gas & Electric's rates are going up in March, just a month after the utility reported record profits for 2023.

The rate hike eliminates some savings from an unexpected 11% cut in delivery charges in January.

The delivery charges jump 8.7% in the March billing cycle and the average customer bill will increase about $8 a month.


“Customers are still benefiting in March 2024, about a 6% savings than what they were spending in March of 2023,” SDG&E's Anthony Wagner said.

The move comes after the investor-owned utility posted record profits during the last calendar year. Company profits in 2023 hit a new record of $936 million, $21 million more than the previous year.

“A lot of people are questioning why is it, that SDG&E needs more money,” said Mark Toney, the executive director of The Utility Reform Network (TURN). “Their shareholders seem to be just fine. It’s the customers that are hurting. It’s the customers that are feeling the pain. But it’s the shareholders that are reaping the gains.”

This rate hike is linked to wildfire hardening work the utility has already done.

The increase is not linked to SDG&E’s rate case, where the company is seeking permission from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to charge customers another $3.6 billion over current revenues.


A decision is expected later this year and it could push rates up sharply.

TURN said regulators should not have approved the increase, asking the CPUC to disallow more than one rate hike a year.

“We can’t simply have unlimited amounts of money spent on wildfire safety,” Toney said. “We want the most cost-effective measures to be spent on wildfire safety because these bills are going sky high.”

2024 filings with the California Public Utilities Commission indicate SDG&E had more than 361,000 customers who are more than 30 days past due on their bills.

The number of people behind on their bills, 26.7% of SDG&E customers, is down slightly from last year.

But delinquency numbers remain well above levels in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

“Affordability is top of mind to San Diego Gas & Electric, especially managing those bills of some of San Diego’s most vulnerable customers,” Wagner said.

The company has more than $255 million in overdue bills. That is down from over $275 million last summer.