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Bankers Hill man organizes 'payment strike' amid escalating utility bills

Bankers Hill man organizes 'payment strike' amid escalating utility bills
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 20:43:27-05

SAN DEIGO (KGTV) - Amid escalating SDG&E bills, some fed-up San Diego residents are going on a "payment strike."

Earlier this month, when Laurie Grant looked at the projected bill for her home in Vista, her heart sank.

“I was horrified. Just couldn’t understand,” said Grant.

The high range of the projections-more than $600- is more than double her bill from a few months ago.

Grant, who is 70, lives on a fixed income and shares expenses with a roommate. To save on energy costs, every night, she wears a wool coat and a ski cap to bed. She signed up for the SDG&E CARE discount, but the higher costs remain overwhelming.

“The extra couple hundred dollars, means either I can't pay my mortgage, or I can’t buy groceries, or I can't pay for my pharmaceutical medications. Something has got to give,” said Grant.

“I'm mad as heck and not going to take it anymore. I’ve decided to not pay my (utility) bills."

Grant is not alone.

“Disappointment, panic. How am I going to afford this?” said Isiah Glasoe.

That was Glasoe's reaction after seeing his bill more than double at his apartment in Bankers Hill. He has also stopped paying his utility bill.

“We need to make ti very clear to our elected officials, SDG&E, that these rates are price gouging. Unacceptable. Immoral,” said Glasoe.

The utility has pointed to rising natural gas prices as the culprit for the rate hikes.

Meanwhile, Glasoe, an apartment property manager, has started a campaign asking others to join his payment strike, starting June 1. So far, more than 170 people have signed the online petition.

“The only language these people speak is money, so I think starting a pay strike will bring about the environment for longer-term solutions to be taken seriously and ideally implemented,” said Glasoe.

Both Glasoe and Grant say they're willing to accept any consequences, including a ding on their credit reports.

SDG&E has not cut off power to local residences since the pandemic began.

An SDG&E spokesperson says the volatility in gas commodities is unprecedented and SDG&E is determined to help any customer through that volatility. The spokesperson also pointed out the CPUC will be weighing this week whether to implement a gas climate credit to an earlier month to help with high gas bills.

In the past weeks, natural gas prices have plummeted. SDG&E is expected to announce its new rates for the upcoming billing cycle on Tuesday morning.