Southern California Edison (SCE) could face a $140 million fine due to mismanagement of its energy efficiency program. SCE designed this program to bring savings to customers. Public advocate’s office Cal Advocates proposed the fine. This follows criticism of SCE’s rebates to lower the cost of energy-saving light bulbs.
The program gave incentives to SCE and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) so they could ship energy-efficient light bulbs from manufacturers to retailers. Retailers then passed on discounts to customers when they purchased the light bulbs. The utilities’ shareholders also earned rewards if sales of the bulbs increased.
According to Cal Advocates, problems with the program began in 2017. This was when SCE expanded the program to include small and discount stores in low-income communities. The utilities claimed these stores would not maintain sales records like larger big-box retailers. So, they allowed manufacturers to charge stores for the number of bulbs shipped instead of how many bulbs the retailers sold.