SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — SDG&E customers have seen skyrocketing prices in their most recent bills, and they are sharing their frustrations.
“It makes me feel like it’s time to move to another state," said Chula Vista resident Alfredo Juarez.
Juarez's mother-in-law has lived in her home in Chula Vista since 1971. She typically pays about $80 dollars in her monthly bill. However, Juarez shows in her December bill, she was charged more than $150 dollars and in January more than $300.
"In December we were gone to Henderson, Nevada for two weeks," said Juarez.
"So it doesn’t even make sense.”
His wife's mother has Alzheimer's. Juarez mentions that she does not use the stove, occasionally uses a plug-in heater, but mainly just uses the TV.
“Imagine with a bill of $327 a month, that leaves her with another $327, but you still have water, trash bill, sewer, and most importantly your food and medication.”
And they are not the only ones faced with this issue. A statistics professor at Cal State San Marcos went so far as to file a lawsuit Wednesday against SDG&E in small claims court.
This came after he saw that over 5 years, his bill price had gone up 117%. According to Kevin Kilpatrick's bills, from just November to December, his bill price went up 42.5%.
“I got a mid usage report last December, last month, that said my bill could be over 310 dollars a month," said Kilpatrick.
"After I got that estimate, I turned off my heater, and I never turned it on again. I get up in the morning and it’s 50 degrees and I stand in front of the thermostat and debate with myself whether I should freeze to death or turn it on. That is no way for any citizen of any city to be treated.”
Experts say that the prices now are only going to get worse
“It doesn’t look good," said UCAN Executive Director Eduardo Lopez.
"Right now, the CPUC predicts that by 2030, SDG&E costs will outpace inflation by over 70%.”
SDG&E tells 10News that they understand clients' concerns. A spokesperson says that typically in colder months like December and January prices may go up because usage increases.
However, the utility company says they are not up-charging the customer. Rather the price of wholesale natural gashas gone up 25% in just one year, making the cost of gas, more expensive.
The average residential electric rate has also increased by 7.8% because the price per kilowatt has increased. The result is that SDG&E has one of the highest rates in the nation and the highest in California.
SDG&E has clarified that just because the price per kilowatt is the highest, the bill the consumer receives, is not the highest total bill price.
However, customers like Juarez say they are going to keep an eye on their usage, and hope that their next bill goes back to normal.
“Are we going to get $340, $60, $80 next time?" said Juarez.
"Is the next month gonna be $5-$600 dollars because they can get away with it?”
SDG&E also says that since 2007, SDGE has invested more than 3 billion into the region to harden electrical and power lines in order for our infrastructure to not be the cause of a fire, as other companies like Pacific Gas and Electric have experienced.
SDG&E recommends that customers go to their account online to see how much they are paying. A spokesperson also shares that there are tools online to understand where the clients' energy usage is. Customers can then view their current plan and potentially change it.
SDG&E also recommends using less electricity during times when it is harder to generate electricity, typically from 4 to 6 p.m.