Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

What to do when your SDGE bill blows up

Check meter, get solar and battery back-up

They checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher." - Image by Bill Bogan
They checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher."

When Ed Finn opened his San Diego Gas & Electric bill last month – he was shocked at the nearly $4,000 statement. "Most of the May-June bill was for the gas portion – like $3,400 of it," Finn said in a recent interview with me. He and his girlfriend have lived in their Bay Park home since the 1980s and never had seen such an "outlandish amount." The total gas and electric bill never exceeded $150, even during winter months when they felt cold breezes from Mission Bay just across the I-5, and they used a heater and more hot water when showering or bathing. "The most we paid for gas was $40."

So Finn and his girlfriend snooped around their house just south of Claremont Drive. "We thought it might be a gas leak," he continued. "We checked everywhere and smelled nothing." They then checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher. Our meter is still an analog version with spinning dials. When SDG&E was installing digital meters, we had the option to opt out and keep the old meter at a fee. This was annoying; we had to pay to keep what we already had." Part of the fee was applied to have an "SDG&E person come onto our property every month or two or three" and read the gas meter. 

The newer gas meters have digital readouts and smart modules, which can automatically send the gas and electric company the amount of energy the households utilize.

Why did Finn and his girlfriend not choose the more convenient digital meter with smart modules?

Finn explained. "We seemed to understand that the waves from the digital meter must have been a problem, or they would not have offered to opt out of the digital transmissions. We did not investigate why they (SDG&E) did that."

The Bay Park couple was concerned about the alleged "RF radiation" from the new wireless technology. Others online who opted out of the smart module interface shared similar sentiments. Some San Diegans are worry about the "possible hacks" into the digital modules and transmission of personal information. 

Back to the $3,400 gas bill, "SDG&E told us to check the meter," Finn continued. "We called back and told them the meter didn't match any of the numbers on the bill. It was 1500 therms off. Then they scheduled a meter person to come out and read the meter." 

"The average monthly residential natural gas usage in the U.S. is between 70 and 90 therms per month," says shrinkthatfootprint.com

"And regarding the gas meter readers, SDG&E told me they are short-staffed," Fin said. 

He is concerned that the massive bill will go to past-due status and they will lose all their services, including electricity. "And if we had automatic pay, it would have been charged to our credit card, which would have caused even more problems." 

Sponsored
Sponsored

On the NextDoor app, the SDG&E meters have been a hot topic of discussion in San Diego County since the beginning of the year. 

"Earlier this year, news headlines read 'Your SDG&E Natural Gas Bill is About to Get Cut in Half,' but it's July, and it's not true," said Billy from North Park. "We are getting hit with enormous bills." 

Maurize, an El Cerrito homeowner, paid $999.98 for their gas services alone in February. "We are looking to abandon the greedy SDGE for good." He'd later realize it was a gas leak which did not excuse him from paying the $1000 gas bill. 

Yesterday, an Oak Park dweller, who said their gas bill is typically $100 per month, was given a pass on their abnormal $760 bill in June. "I called recently and was told the high number was a glitch in the system. They said they would bill me accordingly." 

Jackie from Rolando Park said, "Mine was over $1,200. I took pictures of my meter, that was covered in dirt. They (SDG&E) never checked. I sent emails with the pictures after a month [and] they finally sent someone to read it, so they adjusted my bill to $256." 

When 7 News San Diego asked the question on Facebook, "Are you getting (high) bills like this?" in March, "hundreds of people responded." 

Like thoseI interviewed and found on NextDoor, the 7 News San Diego interviewees were shocked by the higher, sometimes "double," SDG&E bills. The news station interviewed Fletcher Miller, an SDSU professor of mechanical engineering. "California imports about 90 percent or so of its natural gas from neighboring states," Miller explained. "The San Diego Gas & Electric, or Semper Energy, their parent company, purchases gas from the open market and then resells it to customers without a markup .... they make money on delivery and not actually on the sale or the commodity itself. People use about 50 percent of their natural gas to heat water and maybe about 35 percent or so to heat their house." The newscast then posted a clip of Candace Hadley, an SDG&E rep, who said the high commodity price of gas is "unprecedented" and at a "14 year high." 

The news station added that "natural gas prices have plummeted." But in June and July, locals on NextDoor still complain about the high natural gas prices. 

Paul Fisher from College View Estates is taking matters into his own hands. "The price per therm of natural gas decreased considerably this month, but there is no guarantee it won’t increase again. I combatted these outrageous gas prices by installing solar and battery storage a few months ago and buying electric heaters for each room. The solar and batteries combination is important though because without it you will be forced to pay peak electricity rates which will be just as expensive as gas over time." 

My first interviewee, Finn, with a pending $3400 gas bill, is patient. "The whole process has taken over a month and has not been resolved yet. They (SDG&E) never called us back to assure us of anything that happened or exactly what will happen."

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sandollar, Courtly Noyse, Shelbi Bennett, Jewel, and Punk Rock Chili Dog Social

Folk, world, punk, rock, and reggae in Ocean Beach, City Heights, Carlsbad, Little Italy, downtown
They checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher." - Image by Bill Bogan
They checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher."

When Ed Finn opened his San Diego Gas & Electric bill last month – he was shocked at the nearly $4,000 statement. "Most of the May-June bill was for the gas portion – like $3,400 of it," Finn said in a recent interview with me. He and his girlfriend have lived in their Bay Park home since the 1980s and never had seen such an "outlandish amount." The total gas and electric bill never exceeded $150, even during winter months when they felt cold breezes from Mission Bay just across the I-5, and they used a heater and more hot water when showering or bathing. "The most we paid for gas was $40."

So Finn and his girlfriend snooped around their house just south of Claremont Drive. "We thought it might be a gas leak," he continued. "We checked everywhere and smelled nothing." They then checked the outside meter, which displays kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage and other information "a tech could decipher. Our meter is still an analog version with spinning dials. When SDG&E was installing digital meters, we had the option to opt out and keep the old meter at a fee. This was annoying; we had to pay to keep what we already had." Part of the fee was applied to have an "SDG&E person come onto our property every month or two or three" and read the gas meter. 

The newer gas meters have digital readouts and smart modules, which can automatically send the gas and electric company the amount of energy the households utilize.

Why did Finn and his girlfriend not choose the more convenient digital meter with smart modules?

Finn explained. "We seemed to understand that the waves from the digital meter must have been a problem, or they would not have offered to opt out of the digital transmissions. We did not investigate why they (SDG&E) did that."

The Bay Park couple was concerned about the alleged "RF radiation" from the new wireless technology. Others online who opted out of the smart module interface shared similar sentiments. Some San Diegans are worry about the "possible hacks" into the digital modules and transmission of personal information. 

Back to the $3,400 gas bill, "SDG&E told us to check the meter," Finn continued. "We called back and told them the meter didn't match any of the numbers on the bill. It was 1500 therms off. Then they scheduled a meter person to come out and read the meter." 

"The average monthly residential natural gas usage in the U.S. is between 70 and 90 therms per month," says shrinkthatfootprint.com

"And regarding the gas meter readers, SDG&E told me they are short-staffed," Fin said. 

He is concerned that the massive bill will go to past-due status and they will lose all their services, including electricity. "And if we had automatic pay, it would have been charged to our credit card, which would have caused even more problems." 

Sponsored
Sponsored

On the NextDoor app, the SDG&E meters have been a hot topic of discussion in San Diego County since the beginning of the year. 

"Earlier this year, news headlines read 'Your SDG&E Natural Gas Bill is About to Get Cut in Half,' but it's July, and it's not true," said Billy from North Park. "We are getting hit with enormous bills." 

Maurize, an El Cerrito homeowner, paid $999.98 for their gas services alone in February. "We are looking to abandon the greedy SDGE for good." He'd later realize it was a gas leak which did not excuse him from paying the $1000 gas bill. 

Yesterday, an Oak Park dweller, who said their gas bill is typically $100 per month, was given a pass on their abnormal $760 bill in June. "I called recently and was told the high number was a glitch in the system. They said they would bill me accordingly." 

Jackie from Rolando Park said, "Mine was over $1,200. I took pictures of my meter, that was covered in dirt. They (SDG&E) never checked. I sent emails with the pictures after a month [and] they finally sent someone to read it, so they adjusted my bill to $256." 

When 7 News San Diego asked the question on Facebook, "Are you getting (high) bills like this?" in March, "hundreds of people responded." 

Like thoseI interviewed and found on NextDoor, the 7 News San Diego interviewees were shocked by the higher, sometimes "double," SDG&E bills. The news station interviewed Fletcher Miller, an SDSU professor of mechanical engineering. "California imports about 90 percent or so of its natural gas from neighboring states," Miller explained. "The San Diego Gas & Electric, or Semper Energy, their parent company, purchases gas from the open market and then resells it to customers without a markup .... they make money on delivery and not actually on the sale or the commodity itself. People use about 50 percent of their natural gas to heat water and maybe about 35 percent or so to heat their house." The newscast then posted a clip of Candace Hadley, an SDG&E rep, who said the high commodity price of gas is "unprecedented" and at a "14 year high." 

The news station added that "natural gas prices have plummeted." But in June and July, locals on NextDoor still complain about the high natural gas prices. 

Paul Fisher from College View Estates is taking matters into his own hands. "The price per therm of natural gas decreased considerably this month, but there is no guarantee it won’t increase again. I combatted these outrageous gas prices by installing solar and battery storage a few months ago and buying electric heaters for each room. The solar and batteries combination is important though because without it you will be forced to pay peak electricity rates which will be just as expensive as gas over time." 

My first interviewee, Finn, with a pending $3400 gas bill, is patient. "The whole process has taken over a month and has not been resolved yet. They (SDG&E) never called us back to assure us of anything that happened or exactly what will happen."

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

A taste of America on the other side of the world

Diner’s owners once drove Route 66
Next Article

Encinitas goes beyond plastic straw ban

New rules allow only reusable or compostable cups, plates, bowls, trays, take-out boxes, stir sticks, lid plugs, and utensils
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.