Customers could face higher utility fees

GLENDALE — Faced with higher premiums as a result of insurance payouts for fires started by equipment failures, two utilities are awaiting a state decision on an application to raise customer fees.

Under the proposal submitted in August by Southern California Edison and the Southern California Gas Company, customers from La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge to Glendale would face higher fees to help the companies cover ballooning insurance costs — a move strongly opposed by Los Angeles County Sup. Mike Antonovich.

On Friday, he released a statement announcing his opposition to the proposed fee increase. In a letter sent to the state Public Utilities Commission, Antonovich criticized Southern California Edison for not adequately working with communities on new transmission projects and urged the commission to deny the application.

“It is unconscionable for Edison to place an additional burden on its customers to fix lines damaged by fire — when the company refuses to reroute its own lines from high-fire areas,” Antonovich said.

The utilities joined with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and San Diego Gas & Electric Company in an application to the California Public Utilities Commission to pass on to consumers higher costs related to wildfires.

Utility officials said the fee increase is necessary for the companies to remain financially viable due to soaring insurance costs, according to the application.

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