Electric bills to rise in Newport-Mesa

Newport Beach and Costa Mesa Southern California Edison customers likely will see about $7 added to their monthly bills starting early next year, thanks to a California Public Utilities Commission decision to allow the energy provider to raise its rates by about 5%.

Rates are estimated to rise an additional 6.3%, then 5.9% for each of the following two years, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The increased revenue, a PUC news release says, will help SCE improve its infrastructure and invest in "smart energy systems, renewables, and safety and reliability."

The commission regulates privately owned public utility companies on behalf of the state.

SCE had requested a 16.6% rate increase over current rates, but that was knocked down to the approved 5% for 2012, to be applied retroactively, the PUC release said.

An SCE statement said the company is "supportive" of the decision and "finds the decision constructive."

SCE is one of the country's largest energy providers, serving about 14 million people throughout the region, according to the company's statement. Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Irvine all fall within SCE's coverage area.

In late 2011, the company came under fire for its response to a Nov. 30-Dec. 1 windstorm through foothill communities bordering the San Gabriel Mountains. According to the CPUC release, SCE is required to provide a progress report next year on efforts to improve its emergency communications and community response systems.

Also, as a result of problems with the company's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, expenditures related to the station made after 2011 will be tracked for separate review, and will be subject to refund, the release said. San Onofre has been out of service since Jan. 31.


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