San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will refund $51.6 million to customers and pay a $5.5 million fine due to a botched program meant to encourage people to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs.
An investigative report commissioned by the California Public Utilities revealed that 15 million of the subsidized bulbs had gone missing, costing utility ratepayers about $55 million. It also found that the total number of bulbs shipped in 2017 under the programs was three times the number of bulbs sold in California.
Additional investigators hired by SDG&E in 2020 found that bulbs were either overstocked or never sold and that at least one manufacturer falsified shipping invoices for bulbs that were never delivered or dumped.
SDG&E discontinued the program last year, according to AP.
“SDG&E took ownership of what went wrong,” spokeswoman Helen Gao told the San Diego Union-Tribune in an email. “The lessons learned from the program failure have resulted in meaningful changes, including new procedures and training, to strengthen accountability and prevent this from ever happening again.”