Southern California Edison?s request for general rate increases would be sliced by plans before the California Public Utilities Commission up for a vote next month. The proposals also would put residential customers on the hook for late-payment charges for the first time, with some exceptions. Nonresidential customers already pay late charges. Edison?s base revenue requirement would be set at about $2.75 billion, up 0.5 percent from the utility?s base revenue of $2.74 billion for 2003. The utility had sought an increase of $251 million, or 9.2 percent. Base rates exclude such costs as fuel, power procurement, and public-purpose programs. In 2001, rates for all of Edison?s ratepayers were higher than those for the other investor-owned utilities, with the exception of San Diego Gas & Electric?s residential rates, noted the tentative plans. CPUC administrative law judge Mark Wetzell?s proposal and the alternate by commissioner Carl Wood envision returning Edison to ?conventional cost-of-service ratemaking after a six-year hiatus.? Cost of service covers costs of operations, maintenance, and capital investments plus a rate of return. According to the CPUC?s press office, customers who do not pay their bills within 19 days of receipt would face charges of 0.9 percent per month. Exceptions would be made for certain low-income residential customers. The utility?s plan to adjust revenue requirements for 2004-05 by tying capital forecasts to actual projects in the utility?s budget, subject to true-up, would also be adopted. The late charge ?is not customer-friendly, and we don?t see the purpose of late fees, especially after 19 days??a tight time frame, said Mark Pocta, analyst for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates. The draft decision would also approve the utility?s proposal for a refueling and maintenance outage expense recovery mechanism for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Units 2 and 3. It entails a standard per-unit outage cost of $39 million for the utility. Wood?s alternate decision adopts the same numbers as Wetzell?s plan but also incorporates the Greenlining Institute?s proposal requiring Edison to report annually on total compensation paid to the utility?s ten top-paid employees. Last month, Greenlining dropped its motion alleging that Pacific Gas & Electric did not disclose bonuses in its general rate case being litigated at the CPUC, in part in return for a pledge by PG&E to make a charitable donation (see <i>Energy Circuit<\/i>, February 13, 2004). Asked to weigh in on the CPUC plans, Edison spokesperson Gil Alexander said the company is still assessing them.