The following is a June letter to customers from San Diego Gas and Electric President Jessie J. Knight Jr. warning of electricity rate hikes in the wake of the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
The closure stemmed from a radioactive steam leak which subsequently revealed pervasive engineering problems throughout newly installed components at the plant.
The resulting engineering assessment, political furor and bureaucratic mire led Southern California Edison to cut its losses and shutter the plant permanently. SDG&E owns 20 percent of the plant, and routed power from it all over its service area.
This is the text of Knight's letter:
I am writing you today to share information regarding some of the region’s energy challenges, some important changes in the coming months, and some help in reducing the effect on your household.
While the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has created an untimely reduction in our region’s energy resources, we have taken steps to ensure a reliable supply of energy for the region. At the same time, we have revitalized our network with smart technology that will allow you to more efficiently control your energy use - especially during peak demand times. We have been increasing the supply of clean, renewable energy like solar and wind. And, we have made the ongoing delivery of energy more efficient through modernization and upgrades.
These are important investments to assure a continued high level of energy service for the future, but they do come with added expense. In addition, the cost of producing and delivering the renewable energy we all desire is more expensive than traditional sources. I am letting you know that as a result, about a quarter of our customers will see a noticeable increase in their bills in September.
What can you expect? Based on your historical energy use, you are likely to be affected by this increase. If your bill is typically around $100 a month, you will see an increase of about $15. If your bill is usually about $250 a month, you will see an increase of around $75.
We understand that increased costs can cause belt-tightening in any household. So you would be right in asking what we are doing to lower costs and operate as efficiently as possible on behalf of customers. Here are a few of the steps we have taken:
- Switched out 90% of our passenger fleet vehicles to high-mileage or clean-energy vehicles
- Installed smart switches on our electric system to help with service reliability
- Saved over $2 million annually on paper and postage with online services
- Cut our own energy and water consumption by over 20 percent
- Substantially increased our ability to import lower-cost power into the region
We have set up a special website to provide more details on this upcoming change. I invite you to visit this site at www.sdge.com/2013Rates and if you have further questions, please call us toll-free at 855-846-7174.
Our goal is to help all of our customers find ways to manage energy costs with efficiency programs, rebates and new energy management tools. In the coming weeks we will be communicating with you again, providing what I hope will be helpful information to meet your energy needs in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer