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High utility prices prompts state audit of SDG&E

SDG&E headquarters appears in this undated photo.
Nicholas McVicker
/
KPBS
SDG&E headquarters appears in this file photo taken Feb. 12, 2016.

San Diego’s high utility prices have prompted an examination by acting California State Auditor Michael Tilden.

The audit will review San Diego Gas and Electric’s recent rate hikes, as well as the process the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) uses to approve those increases. The audit comes at the request of Encinitas state Assemblymember Tasha Boerner-Horvath.

SDG&E increased its rates an average of nearly 8% at the beginning of 2022. The utility has another rate-hike request before the CPUC which could boost average customer costs another 8.7%.

The San Diego Union-Tribune energy reporter Rob Nikolewski said SDG&E publicly welcomed the audit into the drivers impacting utility rates and how state regulators review rate increases. For its part, the CPUC has already held workshops to investigate how skyrocketing utility rates might be brought down for consumers. One idea is to have the cost of public purchase programs offered to low-income customers be paid as part of the state budgetary process and not by ratepayers.

The state audit of SDG&E is expected to be completed in seven months.