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Man fighting $4,000 SDG&E annual bill could lose electricity

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 13:25:27-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When William Hauf looks out his kitchen window, he sees rows of patio furniture that won't fit anywhere else.

"I just had to leave that stacked up out there," he says. "And I've got boxes of books in my garage right now that are unopened and brand new. Books that I haven't even seen yet."

They're leftovers from Hauf's former, more successful life.

In March, he sold his estate in Santaluz for $3 million. Hauf had to sell it after losing millions of dollars himself in real estate and travel investments.

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He's now renting a home in Carlsbad.

Today, Hauf says he can't write a check for $4,000. It's a key number because that's what San Diego Gas and Electric says he still owes them from his Santaluz home.

Hauf got that roughly $4,000 bill in March - an annual balance correction because the Santaluz home had solar, meaning he didn't have to pay monthly. SDG&E is now threatening to cut the electricity to his new home in Carlsbad if he doesn't pay the balance.

"It's a nightmare, and I have no power to be able to confront this," Hauf said.

SDG&E checked Hauf's meter in 2018, after a roughly $2,000 annual bill. He said he hoped they would do more at the time.

"They didn't investigate, they didn't identify, they didn't do an audit, they didn't do any of that," he said.

Then came the $4,000 whopper in March.

In a statement, SDG&E noted that Hauf's bill worked out to $342 a month for the 7,600 square-foot Santaluz home. The company said it found no issues with the meter and that something in the home was being left on for long periods of time.

SDG&E says it has advised Hauf to make sure his pool pump was not left running but Hauf said there's a big problem with that advice.

"There's no pool in the house," he said. "There's no swimming pool, there's no heater, there's no air conditioning."

In other words, Hauf can't pinpoint what caused his annual bill to get to $4,000 dollars, and he doesn't think SDG&E can either.

A spokesman for SDG&E said the utility isn't always privy to the types of appliances customers have, but reiterated that Hauf's meter was functioning normally during that time.

This is the utility's full statement:

This solar customer received an annual true-up bill of $4,111.46 for twelve months of energy use at his 7,600+ sq. foot home. If you average that out it would be approximately $342 per month. Over the past several years we have spoken with this customer regarding increasing energy usage and other billing related questions. In the spring of 2018, we tested the electric meter and found no issues. In a review of his March 2018 bill, we indicated that something in the household was turned on and left on for periods of time. The customer stated he would follow up with pool maintenance person to ensure the pump was not left running.