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The amount owed on your latest SDG&E bill may have been arrived at with the help of a little proration that cost you some extra money.

SDG&E split my billing cycle of 33 days into one period of 26 days and one period of 7 days and charged different electrical usage rates for each, due to an approved rate change. But, they did this without knowing exactly how much electricity I used in either portion of the month because I do not have a “Smart Meter” installed!

A senior billing person at SDG&E agreed with me that the company had only read my meter at the beginning and at the end of the month, not at the beginning — at the end of the first rate change and then at the end of the month — which would have resulted in them knowing exactly how much electricity I used in each "period.”

So, for all their 700,000 customers without new Smart Meters, they used something called "proration of consumption" (POC) in each period and charged you the "extra" amount — even though they had no way of knowing how much electricity was used because they did not read the meter at the end of each period. (Had you been traveling away from home during the rate change and used almost no electricity, the calculation on the estimated portion of your bill would have been based on the electricity used before the rate change, when you were home).

Instead of changing rates at the start of the next billing cycle, the California Public Utilities Commission allows SDG&E to use POC to implement the rate increase, which is good for SDG&E but does not seem fair. Depending on your usage and/or if the number of prorated days are larger, your POC calculation is variable.

Depending upon where “Smart Meter-less” folks fell in the 21 different SDG&E "billing cycles," their POC would be — for a few customers — lower (folks that had less than 7 of 33 days of rate increase) and for the rest much higher (folks that had more than 7 of 33 days of rate increase, [i.e., 29 of 33 days of rate increase]).

On my bill, I got charged $2 more, and that was because I only had 198 kWh of Tier 3 usage billed at the higher amount during 7 of 33 days. As an example, there are now about 700,000 SDG&E customers who do not yet have Smart Meters installed; at an estimated "POC" of $2 each, that's $1,400,000 SDG&E made.

Here is who to contact for more information: SDG&E: (800) 411-7343; California Public Utilities Commission: (866) 849-8390, and here’s a link to lodge CPUC complaints.

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Comments

Susan Luzzaro Sept. 25, 2010 @ 9:08 a.m.

Thanks for the heads up on the bill. It would make too much sense to start the new rate at the beginning of a bill cycle. That's some nice pocket change made by SDG&E. Is this the stuff of a class action?

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Founder Sept. 25, 2010 @ 11:15 a.m.

Reply #2

Let's hope so for all the rate payers that lost a "little extra" money!

We should also replace the CPUC "OVER$IGHT" BOARD with some new folks chosen like Jurors are, randomly!

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