Article Fallout

Still Highest

An April 24 Don Bauder article, “San Diego Gas & Electric rates are nation’s highest,” (City Lights) incorrectly stated that San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) rates are the nation’s highest. The article source was a quarterly electric rates survey by the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA).

Actually, SDG&E ranked third (not first) in JEA’s quarterly Electric Rate Comparison survey. It is important to note that this survey is not comprehensive and is not a national utility comparison. Notably, Pacific Gas & Electric, one of California’s three investor-owned utilities, isn’t included in the survey.

Nationally SDG&E’s average customer bills are among the lowest of all investor-owned utilities, despite CA having one of the highest renewable energy targets in the country. SDG&E’s customers use less electricity because San Diego has a mild climate. This means there are fewer kWh to spread out the fixed costs required to maintain safe and reliable service making rate comparisons misleading.

All California investor-owned utilities are on a tiered rate system, in general this means that electricity rates rise progressively as electricity use increases into the second, third and fourth tiers ( The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) established the tiered rate structure to encourage conservation as well as help provide some electricity for basic needs at a lower rate. If a household in SDG&E’s service area is using 1250 kWh of electricity (the usage amount from the JEA survey) they would be well into the highest tier. The average SDG&E customer uses 500 kWh during a 30-day billing period.

via email

Don Bauder responds:

I have checked the Jacksonville electric rate survey. You are right: for the 1000 kwh I cited, SDG&E was third, not first, out of 54 utilities measured. I take complete responsibility and apologize for the error.

I have checked data going back to 2010. In the JEA residential survey (quarterly) SDG&E has consistently had the highest rates in the nation. So the column’s generalization, embodied in the headline, stands.

Here are JEA data for 100 kwh among more than 50 utilities:

Oct. 2012, SDG&E highest in nation; Oct. 2011 SDG&E highest; July 2012 SDG&E highest; July 2011 SDG&E highest; July 2010 SDG&E highest; April 2012 SDG&E 3rd highest; April 2011 SDG&E 2nd; April 2010 SDG&E 2nd; Jan. 2012 SDG&E 3rd; Jan. 2011 SDG&E 1st and Jan. 2010 SDG&E 2nd.

Thus, SDG&E rates were the highest in the country in seven of those twelve surveys going back to 2010, and second or third in the other five. Going back to 2002, SDG&E consistently had the highest rates in the nation. For example, for the January quarterly surveys from 2002 through 2009, SDG&E’s rates were highest every year except one.

Don Bauder

Fired over Story

I would love to say thank you to the team at the Reader. The hearts that were reached from the story (“Shame: Few Visit Women Prisoners,” April 11) are many! I’m truly grateful that God gave me the courage and strength to speak for those who are still held in bondage to unresolved trauma and addiction.

Unfortunately, my employers were not very open-minded about the article. The article came out on April 11. I was fired on April 22. I am heartbroken.

My employers claim I did not disclose my felony on my employment paperwork. On my orientation paperwork I admitted my felony and even wrote a paragraph explaining it. During the hiring process, I approached my co-manager and told her that I had a felony. I was told it wasn’t a problem. They could still hire me. They are an equal opportunity employer.

They saw me working hard every day for the company, and read about the struggles I was faced with. You would think that they would have compassion and love for me. Instead they choose to be closed-minded and judgmental.

I was an amazing employee. I never came into work with anything other than a smile on my face, and an open heart for not only the customers, but for the employees also. Instead of love and acceptance, they did everything they could to get me fired from the only means I have to provide for myself and my daughter.

I told my story to reach out to people who feel alone and ashamed. I wanted to have a positive impact on the community, not create a negative situation in my life.

Cassie Briscoe
via email

In Horrible Taste

Your fake news article about Point Loma High School’s “porn studio” is in horrible taste (SD on the QT: “Student Bodies,”). As a former media arts teacher at the school, I know what it’s like when you are working 12 or more hours a day to open a media arts building, and to make it work with little help.

Why not write an article profiling the talents of Anthony Palmiotto and his students, who have won multiple awards for filmmaking projects at festivals? Instead, you have created a potential problem for the educator, the school, and the school district . Not everyone reads the tiny print, “Almost Factual News,” and when you say “almost” it suggests that there is some truth in the article.

I received an email last night from L.A. from an Oscar-winning filmmaker (a friend) who read the article and wanted to know what was going on — and he is a frequent donor to the school’s media arts program.

Picking on public schools with this lurid “almost facutal news” story is appalling. Can’t you find any newsworthy articles to write about at the Reader? You owe the teacher, the school, the students, and the public a formal apology.

Larry Zeiger
via email

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Dear Mr. Zeiger, Opening a movie studio in a high school with $3.6 million in taxpayer funds is "making it work with little help"? Now who's being almost factual? wm

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