Since the 2007 wildfires were extinguished, San Diego Gas & Electric has paid out $1.5 billion to fire victims who lost their homes and businesses. But with more than $500 million left to pay, the company is asking regulators for permission to automatically bill customers — and limit what its shareholders would pay.

The company, the region’s major electricity provider, has asked for a blank check for customers to pay any of its uninsured costs from past and future wildfires.

We teamed up with NBC San Diego to explain.

(A couple of notes: The first person who appears on camera is Stephanie Donovan, an SDG&E spokeswoman. The second is Diane Conklin, a backcountry activist who’s fought SDG&E’s plan. And, lastly, SDG&E’s $463 million request cited in the story has already grown. The company’s earnings released this week estimate it will need $594 million from customers.)

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Rob Davis is a senior reporter at You can contact him directly at or 619.325.0529.

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Rob Davis

Rob Davis was formerly a senior reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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