Wildfire Expense Balancing Account - WEBA

Background

California’s large investor owned utilities – Edison, PG&E, SDG&E, and SoCal Gas jointly filed the Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA) Application in August 2009 requesting the WEBA to provide a mechanism to allow recovery of wildfire-related costs in excess of insurance coverage or previously authorized revenue requirements. The request was a result of massive wildfires in San Diego County in October of 2007. The utilities asserted that legal doctrine of inverse condemnation where a utility may be held strictly liable by the courts for wildfire-related costs in its service territory. The application was amended in August 2010. Edison and PG&E withdrew from the case in November 2011. Evidentiary hearings were held in January 2012 at the CPUC.

In December 2012, the Commission issued a final Decision which denied WEBA, but was modified to allow the Wildfire Expense Memo Account to continue to record costs.

 

ORA Position 

The December 2012 WEBA decision is consistent with ORA's recommendation that SDG&E’s 2007 Wildfire costs should be requested in a future special application. ORA supported the CPUC's Proposed Decision denying the utilities' request for WEBA because there are other available CPUC ratemaking mechanisms that are more fair and balanced and will provide better protection for ratepayers. Any wildfire event which results in utility costs above insurance coverage or existing revenue requirements will likely involve special and unique circumstances and should be investigated by the CPUC on a case-by-case basis. Cost recovery should be addressed in a special application filed by a utility or CPUC investigation to ensure that due process rights are protected. Ratepayers should not be at risk to cover excess utility costs based on a predetermined formula and process, as would be the case under the WEBA proposal.

See the November 13, 2012 Joint Reply Comments of ORA and the CPUC's
Consumer Safety and Protection Division (CPSD), TURN and the Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT).

See the March 9, 2012 Joint Reply Brief of ORA and CPSD, TURN, and CforAT).

See the February 17, 2012 Joint Brief of ORA and CPSD, TURN, and CforAT).

See DRA’s September 12, 2011 Testimony.

See the September 9, 2010 Joint Protest of ORA and CPSD to the Amended Utility Application.

See ORA's October 5, 2009 Protest.

 

Proceeding Status 

This proceeding is now closed.

See the Proceeding docket.