SAN DIEGO — San Diego Gas & Electric Co. can raise electricity rates to recoup the $2 million cost of upgrading lines to Mexico, federal regulators said Wednesday.
But regulators said the utility must provide more information to resolve concerns expressed by California’s power regulators.
SDG&E can bill its 1.2 million customers for the expense plus a 13 percent return over 10 years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled.
FERC said the order “helps protect consumers in the Western United States from supply disruptions and unreasonable rate increases by relieving transmission constraints.”
The money would be used to upgrade existing transmission lines linking California’s Imperial Valley with the La Rosita plant near Mexicali, Mexico.
SDG&E said the upgrade would allow the utility to import up to 900 megawatts of power across the border, up from its present capacity of 408 megawatts. A megawatt is enough power for 750 to 1,000 homes.
The utility proposed the upgrade shortly before the onset of California’s electricity crisis last year, but SDG&E accelerated its work on the project to help alleviate shortages of power.
The California Public Utilities Commission raised several concerns in a filing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has jurisdiction over electric transmission lines.
The CPUC said SDG&E had not adequately documented the $2 million cost and may be overcharging customers for the costs of the transmission lines.
In its order, FERC demanded SDG&E provide further documentation within 15 days to explain its project costs and resulting charges.