By Nick Green, Daily Breeze
Posted: 06/18/14, 2:35 PM PDT |

Southern California Edison’s almost 5 million customers can expect to see average increases of between $5 and $10 on their next monthly electricity bill, officials with the utility said Wednesday at a Torrance news briefing.

The state Public Utilities Commission last week approved the rate increase, which averages 8 percent for all customers.

A sharp spike in natural gas prices in January because of the frigid air that gripped much of the nation coupled with the first restructuring in 13 years in the way residential utility bills are calculated are behind the increase, SCE rates expert Russ Worden said.

“Natural gas prices were sharply higher in the first half of this year than anybody expected,” he said. “The second part (of the rate increase) is an initial step in an broader rate reform policy change on the part of regulators and the electric utilities. So the initial step in rate reform plus the (low) estimates in natural gas prices have pushed costs upward.”

California imports about 85 percent of its natural gas so the severity of weather elsewhere can affect the cost of supplies, Worden said.

Edison is simply passing on its increased costs to the consumer and will not see increased profits as a result of the rate increase, he said.

About half of Edison’s customers will see an $8 increase in their monthly bill.

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