Power rates for Edison customers are expected to take a big jump this winter. Debbie Hess with Southern California Edison reports that rates could jump 25-30% this winter, if regulating agencies approve.
There are a number of reasons power rates are expected to go up. Hess explained that Edison has aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced, and new renewable energy projects that need transmission lines to connect with the grid. The biggest reason for the rate increases is the rising price of natural gas.
David Taylor with Edison explained that about half of all the electricity that Edison sends out is generated by natural gas. With natural gas prices that have doubled in the last year, Taylor reports that about 80% of the rate hike is due to the higher price of fuel.
Taylor explained that Edison is regulated by the State Public Utilities Commission. Every year, he says, Edison tries to project what fuel costs will be. The projections are turned into the PUC for approval. If the prices end up higher then projected, the difference is made up the year after. If they go down, customers get a refund. This year, Taylor says, rates are based on natural gas prices registered last fall. Since then prices have shot up, and Edison has asked the PUC to allow a rate increase.
Depending on if and when the PUC approves the rate hike, Taylor said that the first rate increases could show up as early as October, but it may take until January before customers see the full 25-30% rate increase on power bills.