Southern California Edison workers trying to restore power at the intersection of Live Oak Avenue and Baldwin Avenue in Temple City following last year's windstorm. Edison says revenue from its 5.04 percent rate hike will pay for infrastructure upgrades needed after the storm.
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a 5.04 percent rate hike for Southern California Edison customers.
“While today’s decision results in a rate increase for SCE’s ratepayers, this is a necessary investment in our future," said Commissioner Mike Florio. "We need to do a more thorough job in monitoring, maintaining, and replacing our aging electricity infrastructure.”
Some of the $271 million dollars from the rate hike will go to better monitoring of Edison’s infrastructure - and better recordkeeping of repair and services. Edison promised to make changes after thousands of customers who were blacked out in last year’s windstorm went a week without power - and a week in the dark about when that power would be restored.
Edison also has to pay an independent reviewer to determine whether its wooden utility poles meet standards. Earlier this year, state investigators found 21 out of 215 poles that toppled in the windstorm were overloaded with wires.
The Public Utilities Commission also wants progress reports on improvements to Edison’s emergency response so customers have a better idea when repairs are coming.
“Safe reliable service is what we are behind,” said Edison spokesman Steve Conroy. He said the Commission’s approval of the 5.04 percent rate hike supports the company's decade-long effort to modernize its infrastructure.
“There will be obviously, an impact to our customer bill,” he added.
The rate hike will average about $7 more a month for residential customers. Edison will phase it in over three years. It wanted a 16 percent increase, but the Public Utilities Commission told the company to find ways to cut costs instead.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the size of the rate hike.