San Diego Union Tribune
November 27, 2018
By: Rob Nikolewski

San Diego Gas & Electric is taking its fight to have ratepayers shoulder $379 million in costs related to 2007’s deadly wildfires to the California Supreme Court, and the utility says a local appeals court judge who recently ruled against the utility should have recused herself from the case.

Writing for California’s 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego earlier this month, Associate Justice Patricia Benke denied SDG&E a hearing that would have had the appeals court review a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission that in a 5-0 vote rejected the utility’s request to pass along the $379 million through rates.

In a 48-page filing before the state’s high court, SDG&E attorneys not only argued that the appeals court denial and the commission ruling were incorrect but said Benke should not have taken part in the case because Benke and her husband sued SDG&E over a house lost in the Guejito Fire — one of the three blazes that ripped through San Diego County in October 2007.

Benke’s “failure to recuse was prejudicially unfair and should be reviewed,” SDG&E’s attorneys wrote.