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SDG&E warning customers about scams over new electrical meters

Scammers asking for hundreds of dollars
sdge bill.jpg
Posted at 8:04 AM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 15:36:50-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Gas & Electric is warning customers of a scam in which people are getting phone calls and emails saying they owe hundreds of dollars for a new electrical meter.

San Diego resident Maria Genova almost fell victim to the scam.

"It was very elaborate, very credible, very persistent and very convincing," she said.

Genova showed 10News an email she received, and Iit had the SDG&E logo and even a QR code. The email said she owed $398.63 for a meter upgrade and if she didn't pay it, her service would be suspended.

It also promised hundreds of dollars of other fees for removal, locksmith services and more.

Genova also got a pair of phone calls about the issue, which had her convinced that it was legitimate.

"I was about ready to pay," said Genova. "I had my credit card in hand. But as soon as he said I had to pay cash, I knew there was something wrong."

Genova called SDG&E, and Tthey told her the email and phone calls were not from the company.

In a statement, SDG&E told 10News that they will never charge customers to replace a smart electric meter and that if they need to do any maintenance on a meter, technicians will contact the resident before doing any work.

SDG&E said they've received reports of more than 13,600 scam phone calls already in 2019. It's something they constantly monitor, and they have a page on their website dedicated to helping people identify and avoid scams.

Genova said she's glad she didn't lose any money and hopes other people can learn from her close call.

"Ask questions if you have any doubt," she said. "Call the company themselves, ask if this is true or not before you give anyone your information."

Here is the full statement from SDG&E:

"We can confirm that this particular case is indeed a scam. The important thing for our customers to know is that SDG&E will not charge them to come out and replace a smart electric meter. The exception to this is when customers choose to opt-out of having a smart meter and ask for an analog model instead. The cost for the opt-out is a one-time meter change fee of $75 and an additional $10 monthly charge, over a three-year period.

SDG&E proactively tracks and maintains 1.45 million electric meters in our service territory daily. If we need to replace a malfunctioning meter, our technicians will knock on the door before changing it. If our customers have any questions or concerns about emails or phone calls they receive from people claiming to be with SDG&E, they can always reach out to our customer service team at 1-800-411-7343 to verify the information. We also encourage customers to file a police report in cases where they suspect fraud.

Unfortunately, utility scams are a nationwide problem. This year, SDG&E has so far received reports of more than 13,600 scam calls targeting our customers. For tips on how to spot utility scams, visit sdge.com/scams."