Edison is requesting a 7.55% ($865 million) increase in spending in 2012, and an additional increase of 2.11% in 2013 and 4.45% the next year.
According to Jim Kelly, SCE’s senior vice president for transmission and distribution, “The good news is, if this is approved it will keep bills at about the projected national average.”
The average amount that customers across the nation pay monthly is just $100, and the price per kilowatt hour is around 11.5 cents.
“Our price is just shy of 15 cents per kilowatt hour but our average monthly electric bill is $90.30, so our monthly bills have historically been lower than the national average,” stated Kelly.
Customers who will pay an additional $5 per month make up 70% of SCE’s total customers, according to Kelly, which means that average monthly bills will still stay below $100. Customers who consume substantially more energy would experience a bigger increase, officials said.
Edison is in the process of deploying smart meters throughout its service area that will allow customers to track their energy consumption in a better way and hopefully shift heavy use to the cheaper off-peak hours.
It has become necessary for the utility to upgrade said Kelly. “This will help us keep the lights on for about 14 million people,” he stated. “We have well over 100,000 miles of wires in the air and millions of poles and transformers, circuit breakers and millions of meters,” and a large amount of that infrastructure desperately needs to be updated. Much of the utility’s power grid was built a short while after the Second World War.
“It’s been well maintained, but at some point you have to replace things,” commented Kelly. “A lot of our infrastructure is 50 to 60 years old. As we replace things we’re putting in more computerized equipment. That enables us to serve customers in a smarter way.”
SEC filed its application on November 23. According to Edison officials, the proposal will be the subject of hearings throughout next year. CPUC is expected to decide on the proposed rate increase by the end of 2011, with the resulting revenue and rate changes taking place on January 1.