SDG&E Seeks Fixed Fee, Flatter Rates

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. would shift home electricity costs toward lower-use customers by gradually phasing in a fixed fee on bills and reducing rates for large consumers of power, under a proposal submitted late Friday to state utility regulators.

Legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October paved the way for an overhaul of residential rates, removing price controls on a basic allotment on electricity that date back to the California “energy crisis” of 2000-01, when market manipulation triggered rolling blackouts and astronomical utility bills.

Starting in 2015, all residential utility customers in San Diego and southern Orange counties would be charged a “monthly service” fee that would start at $5 and rise to $10 in 2017. Further increases would be tied to inflation.

The proposal before the California Public Utilities Commission would also reconfigure the current rate structure that increases per-kilowatt-hour charges in four steps, according to how much electricity is used by the end of each month.

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