Featured LIFE

Addressing high electricity rates and SDGE

Numerous homes in Scripps Ranch now have rooftop solar panels. 

Addressing high electricity rates and SDGE

By Glenda & Lon Poliner

Scripps Ranch has one of the highest percentages of homes with rooftop solar in the nation. At the same time, ratepayers are being charged one of the highest electricity rates in the country.

Our public utility, SDGE, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, would have you believe that rooftop solar is the reason for those astronomical rates, but that is simply untrue. SDGE is actively discouraging the installation of new rooftop solar by homeowners, and it is important to understand why.

Your SDGE bill is composed of two parts: energy generation and energy transmission. The majority of the charges are for energy transmission, including the construction of long-distance high-voltage lines. SDGE makes most of its profits from energy transmission, with profit guaranteed for every kilowatt-hour transmitted through those lines. Because rooftop solar is locally generated, those long-distance lines are utilized less, reducing SDGE profits. 

SDGE uses revenue from ratepayers to build more transmission lines, which increases SDGE profits in a continuing cycle of profits for executives and shareholders. The risk of wildfires in our rural and suburban communities increases by building new transmission lines, while ratepayers pay into a wildfire fund to reduce the risks of loss to SDGE. In its latest proposal to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), SDGE is asking to recover $3 billion in revenue at a time when ratepayers are already paying some of the highest electricity rates in the nation.

San Diego Community Power (SDCP) is a locally run non-profit that purchases energy that is either 50 percent or 100 percent renewable for customers. The rate charged for electricity generation is less with SDCP for 50 percent renewable than that charged by SDGE. But, SDGE still controls the majority of the electricity charges because of transmission charges, and to maintain the profits generated by transmission, SDGE will continue to influence the CPUC to increase their rates. SDGE also supports the passage of a solar tax on every solar panel on rooftop solar installations.

Our economy and climate change are challenging, and both should remain priorities. Ratepayers in San Diego should be provided rate relief and that can be done by state and local support of rooftop solar for the local generation of electricity.

As we transition to electric vehicles with the benefits of lower maintenance costs and independence from fossil fuels, we will need lower electricity rates for our transportation needs. Governor Newsom and the CPUC must hear our concerns. The form provided at: www.solarrights.org/savecaliforniasolar allows you to add your voice to that of other Californians sharing their concerns that now is the time to move ahead with more rooftop solar and lowering very high energy rates.

Sustainable SR events

Here are two upcoming events at the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library, 10301 Scripps Lake Drive:

San Diego Building Electrification Coalition, Friday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. Benefits of Home Electrification for Health, Climate and More.

Tree San Diego, Friday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m. “Planting the Future: The Importance of Trees” and how to care for them.

See the Sustainable Scripps Ranch webpage for more info: scrippsranch.org/ssr or e-mail