Hundreds of people gathered on the afternoon of May 9 at the Jessie Turner Center in Fontana to express their concern about proposed Southern California Edison rate increases.
Most attendees were members of the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA), which claimed that if SCE’s proposal is approved, rates would be 53 percent higher than they were in 2009.
“We represent thousands of middle class workers in Southern California trying to make ends meet while Edison consistently increases rates far beyond inflation,” said Armando Esparza, business manager for the Southern California District Council of Laborers. “It’s time for Edison to propose reasonable rates for working Californians who are already financially impacted by high living costs.”
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, which held the meeting, SCE is requesting a rate and revenue increase of $221 million in 2018, followed by an additional increase of $533 million in 2019 and an additional $570 million in 2020. This revenue increase request is referred to as a general rate case and covers costs to operate the company, said Eric Wildgrube, the administrative law judge assigned to the case.
If approved by the CPUC, the request would increase the company’s revenue by 5.5 percent next year to $5.9 billion.
According to SCE, residential customers who use an average of 600 kilowatt-hours per month would expect to pay an extra $3.75 a month in 2018, $5.65 per month in 2019 and $7.29 per month in 2020.
If approved, the rates and revenue increase would be used to invest in electric grid safety; to reinforce grid reliability, and grid resiliency in case of emergency; to improve customer service and communication and to offer customers more choices to meet their needs, Wildgrube added. In addition, the revenues would modernize the electric grid to integrate distributed energy resources without compromising safety and reliability.
“We are here to hear arguments both in favor and against. A decision will not be made today and this is only to gather input on the proposed rates,” he added.
Wildgrube urged concerned customers to send written comments via email to email@example.com using reference number A.16-09-001 or via postal at Public Advisor’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Longtime Fontana resident Ruthie Estes voiced her concern over the proposed rate increase, arguing it would hurt senior citizens who are living on a fixed income.
“SCE is passing the costs to the public, but what happens after three years? More hikes?” said Estes. “That’s unfair to us.”
LiUNA also claimed that a separate SCE policy is hurting the union members.
“Edison refuses to let our contractors and workers participate in their infrastructure projects that our members pay for in their electric rates. Not only is Edison inflicting a financial burden on our members with high rates, they also discriminate against our union for work that we do for all other public utilities in California,” said Esparza.
SCE representatives present at the hearing did not comment in regard to the discrimination accusations.
For more information, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/PPH.
Hundreds Gather in Fontana to Express Concern about Proposed SCE Rate Increases, by Alejandro Cano, Fontana Herald News, May 10, 2017.