The California Public Utilities Commission held a hearing in Escondido today to discuss the budget of San Diego Gas and Electric. Many people opposed the idea of a pay structure based on income.
Zara Barker from Fox Five was present at the hearing in Escondido and joins us live. There were two public hearings scheduled in Escondido today, one at 2 o’clock and another at 6.
As we are aware, electricity rates in San Diego are already some of the highest in the nation. Therefore, any discussion of potentially changing rates for electricity and San Diego Gas and Electric attracts a lot of attention. And today, it was no different at Escondido City Hall. People believe that a change in rates based on income will negatively impact the middle class and working individuals in North County, while the super-rich will be less affected. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond, along with many other residents, seized the opportunity of Monday’s California Public Utilities Commission hearing to voice their opinions against a potential fixed-price plan based on income.
They demanded action and urged SDG&E to stop increasing rates. Earlier this year, three California power companies, including SDG&E, submitted a joint proposal to the CPUC for a fixed rate based on household income, aiming to lower bills for low-income residents. This proposal was a result of a California law that passed last year.
The breakdown of the proposed rates is as follows: for household incomes between $28,000 and $69,000 per year, the rate is $34 per month; for incomes between $69,000 and $180,000, it’s $73 per month; and for incomes over $180,000, it’s $128 per month. Critics argue that it is unfair for people to pay for electricity based on their income and raise concerns about seniors on fixed income and households with solar panels. The CPUC is still evaluating this ongoing issue and has not made a decision yet.
Many questions remain regarding the income-driven payment plan proposed by SDG&E and other public utility companies in California..