LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - In the face of escalating SDG&E bills, local residents are getting creative to save money.
Last month, when Tareq Asfour got the SDG&E bill for his three-bedroom home in La Mesa, his heart sank.
“I looked at it, and I was totally shocked. I said, ‘This is not possible,’” said Asfour.
His bill went from about $75 to more than $350. For Asfour, a limo driver whose income has dropped during the pandemic, the extra expense is beyond painful.
“It’s hurting. It hurts,” said Asfour.
Asfour has applied for the income-based CARE discount. He’s unplugged nearly everything from his outlets. His mission to reduce his bill also included some renovating to keep the cold air out.
Asfour bought some plywood, screwed it into the patio window and lined it with cardboard. He then moved his mattress into the living room, turned down his thermostat and decided to fire up his fireplace every night.
“I use the fireplace from 6 p.m. to 6 in the morning,” said Asfour.
While Asfour was reducing his use, others are looking for energy alternatives.
“They’re telling us the bills are too high to even pay. They don't know how they're going to pay them,” said Travis Danks, Marketing Manager at El Cajon-based SolarTech Energy Systems.
Danks says inquiries for solar systems have climbed by 25% to 30% in the past two months. He believes some are hoping to get ahead of possible higher fees with net metering reform. All are trying to reduce their escalating bills.
“For many who have crunched the numbers, they're at a tipping point. They realize once they see the numbers, going solar makes much more sense,” said Danks.
Back in La mesa, Asfour hopes the numbers in his next bill will drop sharply.
Asfour says the daily use stats show he could drop his bill from $350 to $150 dollars, but factor in the cost of firewood, and he's not saving much money.
He says he may have to cut back his fireplace hours to save more money.