Lakeside Church Shocked by $9,500 Electric Bill - NBC 7 San Diego

Lakeside Church Shocked by $9,500 Electric Bill

Church elders contacted NBC 7 Responds after they received an electric bill nearly 20 times more than what they usually pay, saying the charges were not justified.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7's Consumer Bob shares how NBC 7 Responds helped a local church keep its lights on after a massive electric bill arrived. (Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017)

    Songs of praise bring together the congregation at Calvary Chapel Lakeside’s Sunday service. Recently, the church said they had another issue bringing them together, the church’s electric bill. 

    “The Pastor brought it to me and I was like, I don’t know what’s going on,” church elder Eric Bryant said. 

    Eric is talking about the church’s June electric bill from San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). The bill was for over $9,500. 

    “I was incredulous,” Eric said. 

    Eric said the church normally pays between $200-400 a month for their electricity and even then, they try to conserve as much as possible. 

    “We budget our money, we support many missions and missionaries around the world..so for us to all of a sudden pull that money from them and say, ‘We can’t support you, we have to pay the electricity bill’ is difficult,” Eric said. 

    Eric said SDG&E officials told them the increase was due to a change made in the church’s billing structure last March but he said the church was never informed about the change. 

    “It went from three tiers to two tiers and we had a rate change,” Eric said, “She [SDG&E representative] said everybody should have been told beforehand but we didn’t get anything that we’re aware of.” 

    Eric said the church’s monthly bills never increased to reflect the change until June when Eric said the utility company was asking the church to back pay what they owed for the previous year-and-a-half. 

    As a compromise, Eric said SDG&E told the church they could pay $2,700 to keep the lights on and pay the remaining amount in payments each month. 

    “We were faithfully paying as we should have,” Eric said, stating he feels the church didn’t do anything wrong. 

    Church elders turned to NBC 7 Responds for help. A week after NBC 7 Responds contacted SDG&E, the church received a call from the utility company. The church said a SDG&E representative told them their rate structure would be adjusted to their original rate and the bill would be wiped clean. 

    In an email to NBC 7 Responds, Colleen Windsor, a spokesperson for SDG&E said, “SDG&E believes customers deserve accurate bills. Regretfully, this did not happen in the case of this customer. After reviewing this situation, SDG&E has put this customer back on their original small commercial rate. A new corrected bill is being sent reflecting a credit of the down payment made towards the inaccurate bill. In addition, a member of our Business Services department will follow up with the customer once the corrected bill is available.”