News Release


DATE: September 20, 2001

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SAN DIEGO - Thousands of San Diego Gas and Electric residential customers, particularly those in East County, will find it more difficult than others to avoid a new rate increase, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said today.

The increase, which was approved Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission, raises residential electric rates by 12 percent but exempts customers who stay within 130 percent of their electric baseline allowance. Supervisor Jacob, who has long argued that the electric baseline allowances across the county fail to reflect variances in the region's climate, said the increase puts customers in extreme regions at an unfair disadvantage.

"From Del Mar to El Cajon, nearly 99 percent of SDG&E's residential customers have exactly the same baseline allowance of 249 kilowatt hours every month," Supervisor Jacob said. "This is grossly unfair to residents in the backcountry where the temperature gets so high in the summer, it poses a significant health and safety risk to try to survive without air conditioning," Supervisor Jacob said.

The CPUC is in the process of examining baseline allowances for customers of the state's three largest utilities and is looking into changing the baseline allocations statewide. On September 10, Jacob testified before the CPUC urging the Commission to hold off electric rate increases until the region's baseline allowances were reformed.

Thursday's rate increase will go into effect immediately and will be reflected in SDG&E's next billing cycle beginning October 1. In addition to the residential increase, SDG&E's large industrial rates will rise 19 percent, small commercial rates will rise 18 percent, and agricultural rates will rise 14 percent.