The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce was joined today by City Councilman Scott Peters and representatives from the Utility Consumers' Action Network, San Diego Gas & Electric, and some of the largest energy users in the county to decry a potential decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that would shift over one billion dollars in utility costs from the other two California utilities to customers in the San Diego region.
The news conference was used as a call to action for both the residential and business consumer base to voice their concerns to the CPUC about the proposed action. The Chamber encouraged the public to e-mail CPUC President Michael R. Peevey at email@example.com to express their concern about the potential cost shift to our region.
"The CPUC is supposed to protect consumers statewide, and shifting costs that belong to Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric to the San Diego region's business community is not an effort to protect us, but an effort to punish us," stated John Hawkins, Chairman of the Board for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber highlighted the fact that they had written to CPUC Commissioner Loretta Lynch twice asking her to provide them with information related to her comments that the CPUC has taken several actions to help the San Diego region, yet Lynch failed to respond to either request.
"Transferring $1.33 billion in costs to the San Diego region that we had no part in accruing is not an action that we would consider fair. The result would be an unjustifiable burden to our business community," stated Steve Hoffman, Chairman of the Chamber's Energy Committee.
The Chamber also highlighted the fact that since the summer of 2001, the year after the California blackouts and the energy crisis began, consumer consumption is slowly beginning to increase. They acknowledged that some of the increase in consumption can be attributed to growth that has occurred annually, but the other aspect of the increase is attributed to people returning to their old habits and being less cognizant of electricity conservation now that the topic is not in the news every day.
"Although we are not seeing energy headlines with regularity, we still have a long road ahead of us to improve and diversify our energy infrastructure to the point that it can meet our region's growing needs," Hoffman said.
The Chamber plans to announce a new program in March that will focus on promoting conservation success stories among San Diego businesses and encouraging consumers to refocus their efforts to conserve energy.