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Approval to Increase All Retail Solar Rates

SCE Seeks Approval to Increase All Retail Rates

 
 

17.5% Rate Hike Proposed for Residential Customers

Utility cites rising costs and the need to step up infrastructure replacement

Along with the price of a gallon of gas and staples like bread and eggs, the cost of keeping the lights on is likely to increase as much as 17.5% in 2009 for residential customers of Southern California Edison Co. SCE has notified its customers, including the City of Duarte, that it has filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission to increase retail rates for all of its

Every three years utilities are required to forecast the cost of serving customers and, after reviewing such forecasts, regulators set each utility’s authorized revenue levels for the following three year cycle. This is known as phase 1 of a General Rate Case. SCE anticipates higher utility costs and has requested the equivalent of a 6 percent rate increase to cover them. SCE is requesting additional revenues to maintain safe, reliable service. The cost increases are for:

1.Construction of additional facilities to serve new customers and to reinforce SCE’s power delivery grid to accommodate growing electricity use.
2.Substantial capital investments to replace aging distribution infrastructure and business systems.
3.Significantly increased expenses to meet regulatory requirements in electricity generation and procurement for customers.
4.Increased costs to step up recruitment, training and retention initiatives to assure that SCE has the skilled workforce a large power system requires in the decades ahead.

The CPUC is expected to vote on Phase 1 of SCE’s 2009 General Rate Case in December.

In addition to Phase 1, another part of the Commission’s GRC process is to establish costs, allocate revenues, and design equitable rates for all customer classes and is referred to as Phase 2 of SCE’s 2009 General Rate Case. During this phase, SCE uses cost studies to develop fair rates to all customers. The Phase 2 application, filed March 4, 2008, does not request additional money, it simply re-allocates the total revenue among the various customer groups and sets rates based on cost to serve. If the CPUC grants approval of Phase 2 of SCE’s application, some customer rates will see an increase and other rates a decrease in late 2009.

At the time of the Phase 2 application, SCE expected total average rate increases of about 12% for 2009 compared to today’s rates, though this number may be adjusted in the future to account for the record high natural gas prices that are expected to continue. Compared to the system average increase of 12%, SCE seeks approval of a 17.5% increase in electrical rates for residential customers, a 20% rate increase for street lighting, and 27.9% increase in agricultural and pumping rates as these groups are more costly to serve. Rates for lower cost groups, such as lighting, small and medium power customers and large power customers, would experience lesser increases of 7.4% and 6.9%, respectively.

SCE continues to provide energy efficiency rebates and services to all customer groups, including incentives for installing energy efficient equipment, low income and senior programs as well as energy audits and opportunities to shed load during critical energy peak times with the air-conditioning cycling program. Please go to: www.sce.com for more information on programs and conservation tips to save energy and money.

The CPUC will determine actual changes in rates, if any. Before acting on SCE’s application, the CPUC will hold public participation hearings open to public comment and evidentiary hearings open to comment by authorized interveners. Public hearings have already occurred in Palm Springs, Visalia, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Long Beach, San Clemente, Riverside and Compton. While only those who are parties of record can present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during evidentiary hearings, comments or concerns about the application should be directed to the CPUC Public Advisor who will circulate comments to the Commissioners and other CPUC staff working on the matter.

The public is invited to address comments to: The Public Advisor, California Public Utilities Commission, 320 W. Fourth St., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90013, or e-mail comments to: [email protected]. When writing, refer to Application 08-03-002, and specify if you would like a response. Otherwise no response will be sent.

Customers may view and download SCE’s application and supporting papers on SCE’s website, www.sce.com, or request a copy of the materials by sending a written request referring to Application 08-03-002 to Southern California Edison Co., P.O. Box 800, Rosemead, CA 91770, Attention: Case Administration. A copy is also available at City Hall in the City Clerk’s Office.

 
 
 
 
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