San Diego Gas & Electric's annual meeting last week was a quiet affair, especially compared to the spirited gatherings of years past, when consumer activists picketed outside in protest of ever-escalating rates.
Rates are down this year and the only consumer representation was on the inside in the form of Gary DeLoss, executive director of UCAN, the utility watchdog group.
But DeLoss doesn't buy the utility's line that it is operating in a higher-risk environment than in years past, and he warns that the company's proposed rate increase request may be about six times higher than the public thinks.
SDG&E last week cut its $123-million 1986 rate increase request to $106 million. But the rate raise is for three years, said DeLoss, which means more than $300 million added to rates. "Then you have two-year $100 million-per-year attrition allowances in 1987 and another $100-million attrition allowance in 1988. That's $600 million."
Just Protecting Shareholders
Robert Morris, the former SDG&E president who now heads Energy Factors, was nothing if not politic at his company's annual meeting last week. When asked why his co-generation company had proposed that any outside takeover offer be approved by two-thirds of the shareholders, Morris insisted that the "purpose of the amendment isn't to prevent a takeover. We've attempted to ensure that all of the stockholders would benefit from an offer."
Morris maintained that the bylaw change protects only shareholders. "I'm a lot less interested in protecting management," he said.
Tidbit from another annual meeting last week:
Home Federal Savings & Loan Chairman Kim Fletcher was asked why it's so hard to read the automatic teller machine receipt slips. Fletcher deadpanned: "We're trying to save money by not using a lot of ink. But we'll change the ink this afternoon."
Later, after the Home Federal auditor reported that directors had been reelected with 99% of the vote, Fletcher quipped, "Maybe next year we'll get an auditor who can give us 100%."
The Price of Success
Dean Alan Bailey of the San Diego State University school of business is reaping the benefits of the school's improved reputation by successfully recruiting seven new business professors for the fall.
But Bailey is a better salesman than real estate broker: The business administration building is so cramped for space that "I don't know where we'll fit them. I keep showing each of them the same empty office."
The bloom may be off the high-tech rose, but the industry is still attractive to young people--and for good reason.
Bachelor of science graduates in June will be offered salaries ranging from $25,332 to $29,016 by San Diego area electronics and information technology firms, according to the American Electronics Assn.
That's up about 6% from last year. Nationally, beginning salaries range from from $24,151 to $30,432.