SAN FRANCISCO May 4 California's
investor-owned utilities were rebuked on Tuesday for failing to
reach energy efficiency goals over a three-year period, putting
them at risk for penalty payments.
The four utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co
(PCG_pa.A), Southern California Edison Co (SCE_pe.A), and
Sempra Energy's (SRE.N) San Diego Gas & Electric Co and
Southern California Gas Co (SOCGP.PK) -- achieved only 70
percent of the targeted energy savings in the 2006-2008 period,
according to an independent consumer advocacy division of the
California Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy
In stark contrast, the utilities had reported they achieved
160 percent of their goals, the commission's Division of
Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) said, adding that the investor-owned
utilities should not be entitled to any shareholder bonus
payments from the CPUC.
The CPUC had put in place a program allowing the utilities
to earn bonuses for achieving CPUC-established energy savings
goals. The utilities could earn as much as $450 million in
bonuses if the utilities exceeded goals.
The CPUC awarded the utilities $82 million in bonuses in
2008 based on self-reporting on energy efficiency programs,
according to the DRA.
Also, the CPUC allowed the utilities to spend $2 billion of
customers' money on energy efficiency programs in 2005 with the
expectation that would generate $2.7 billion in net benefits
But the CPUC staff report said customers only received $426
million in net benefits, excluding $144 million of bonuses paid
to utility shareholders, the DRA said.
"The CPUC staff report illustrates why independent
verification of energy efficiency program achievements is so
crucial," said DRA Director Dana Appling, in a statement. "The
report shows that customers didn't get what they paid for, yet
the utilities earn massive bonuses while customer energy rates
continue to increase."
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)