SDGE: Price Changes
Last updated 11/18/2022 at 10:48am
The price of energy from San Diego Gas & Electric is expected to rise almost 20 percent per kilowatt-hour come Jan. 1, 2023.
That amounts to a 15 percent increase in monthly energy bills, or about $23, for the average residential customer, according to a filing by the utility. SDG&E sets its annual energy rates each Spring, but it can request permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to raise or lower that price throughout the year.
That’s precisely what happened Oct. 12 when SDG&E filed an updated electricity sales forecast.
“SDG&E is forecasting higher gas prices and higher power prices in 2023 compared to those used to develop the initial May application (to set rates),” the utility wrote to the Public Utilities Commission.
That’s precisely what the region’s publicly-owned power companies and SDG&E’s competitors predicted earlier this year when they accused the utility of artificially lowering the price of energy.
“This situation is temporary. We know SDG&E’s rates will be going up in 2023,” said Barbara Boswell back in August, noting that energy prices have been on the rise, not the opposite. She’s the CEO of Clean Energy Alliance, a new government-run power company selling energy to Carlsbad, Del Mar, Escondido, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Oceanside and Vista.
SDG&E spokesman Anthony Wagener said the price increase affects customers who still buy their energy from the utility. About 65 percent of SDG&E customers now buy their energy from a CCA, a public power company like Clean Energy Alliance or San Diego Community Power.
Those CCAs buy and sell their own energy, with a general goal of providing 100 percent renewable power quicker and cheaper than the investor-owned utilities.
SDG&E already plans to raise gas and electric bills by almost 9 percent beginning in 2024 if the state approves the company’s four-year spending plan. The utility has the highest prices of California’s three investor-owned energy companies that hold monopolies in their region. It’s unclear whether and by how much CCAs like San Diego Community Power and Clean Energy Alliance will have to raise their energy prices. That process begins in January after the investor-owned utilities set its rates.
In June, it was reported that a new potential rate increase is in the works, with customers to possibly look at $18 more per month.
The proposal is SDGE’s 2024 – 2027 budget, also known as ‘general rate cases,’ which utility companies are required to file with the California Public Utilities Commission every four years outlining their capital investments and forecasted costs for operations and maintenance. The CPUC has directed SDG&E to develop these sorts of projects, which are paid for through additional fees on customers’ bills.
“Average electric bills at our company are the lowest among California’s electric investor-owned utilities, but we also recognize this is a difficult time to ask our customers to pay more given the state of the economy and inflationary pressures and are mindful of every dollar that we ask our customers to pay. Given the changes in climate and the growing need for a clean energy future, this will ultimately result in improvements that create long-term benefits now and for future generations,” SDG&E President Bruce Folkmann said. “The budget proposal we put forth represents the conscientious efforts of hundreds of SDG&E employees to strike the right balance between holding down costs and making the infrastructure investments needed for a clean energy future.”
The class average residential electric rate changed from approximately 32 cents per kilowatt hour to approximately 34.5 cents per kWh.