Environment & Science

Ratepayer advocates say Southern California Edison is overstating costs to justify rate increases

A Southern California Edison
A Southern California Edison "smart meter."

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A state office of consumer advocates says Southern California Edison is vastly overstating its costs as the utility makes its case with regulators to raise rates.

In California, investor-owned utilities must get approval for the rates they charge. Edison has filed papers with the Public Utilities Commission asking for an additional $4.5 billion in revenue over the next three years.

The utility says according to its projections, it will need the extra cash to cover rising operating expenses and capital costs. Edison argues that its new smart meters will cost more, and it will need to pay for nuclear refueling outages.

But the state Office of Ratepayer Advocates has filed its own paperwork with regulators. Based on an analysis of Edison documents, it argues the utility is overstating its costs by as much as 80 percent.

These reports are just a step in the regular approval process for energy rates for southern California Edison. Edison officials, public utilities staffers and the consumer advocates will hash out plans for the utility's rates at a public hearing in July.