Southern California Edison Hopes to Charge Departing Customers $125 Million

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A Southern California Edison lineman grounds a power line in La Habra. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

A Southern California Edison lineman grounds a power line in La Habra. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Southern California Edison is short nearly $1 billion dollars in its power budget — and it’s hoping to charge a big chunk of that money to customers leaving for another energy provider.

Edison estimates it will spend $972 million more than expected on electricity this year, partly because it didn’t have access to enough power during a summer heat wave and was forced to pay sky-high prices on the energy market. The investor-owned utility is now asking state officials for permission to raise next year’s electricity rates to recoup those costs, as allowed by law.

But there’s an unusual twist in Edison’s request. The utility wants to charge approximately $125 million of the shortfall to more than 1 million homes and businesses that will leave Edison over the next few months to join Clean Power Alliance, a government-run energy provider that intends to compete with the massive power company.

Clean Power Alliance plans to start providing electricity this February to about 930,000 residential customers of 29 cities, including Oxnard, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, as well as unincorporated parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. They’ll be joined by 100,000 nonresidential customers in May.

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