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Making it in San Diego: Changes could help locals save a bit in 2019

Posted: 4:34 PM, Dec 31, 2018
Updated: 2019-01-01 01:57:33Z
A for rent sign in Hillcrest

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Fonseca is beginning the new year with a search for a new place to rent.

"It's a little scary," he says.

Hard to blame him for feeling that way. Fonseca says he lucked out and found a unit in an aging building in Hillcrest for just $750 a month. That building is now up for redevelopment, meaning he and his neighbors have to find a new home, in a county where the average rent is north of $1,900 a month.

"A couple other friends have been looking for places this year and the prices are much, much higher than anticipated," Fonseca says.

Higher rents weren't the only headwinds facing San Diegans in 2018.

The record summer heat played a part - leading to some electric bills at $700 or higher. More than 100 thousand San Diego households hit the new state-mandated high usage charge, which San Diego Gas and Electric says added about $30 to the typical bill. Earlier in December, SDG&E formally asked the state Public Utilities Commission to remove that charge.

A spokeswoman for the CPUC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Also in 2018, a city audit found that nearly 3,000 families were incorrectly charged for water, largely due to human error. The department is now undergoing major reforms, which should make billing more accurate - and help residents with questions or disputes get through to customer service faster.

In addition to the rising rents, the median price for a home rose 4.6 percent over the year to $565,000, CoreLogic reports.