San Diego

San Diego woman's family member stole her identity to pay their SDG&E bills

Beatrice Escobar received a credit for almost $2,000 after NBC 7 Responds was able to help her with SDG&E’s investigation

NBC Universal, Inc.

Beatrice Escobar sits in a small apartment with her three dogs. She breathes with the help of an oxygen tank by her side. Her breathing becomes more labored as she recalls how she was betrayed.

“I couldn’t believe that person did that to me,” she said while showing us San Diego Gas & Electric invoices that proved she paid for a second account without her authorization for more than a year.

Escobar wouldn’t tell us who stole her identity and debit card information to open the second account.

Beatrice Escobar shows NBC 7 Responds how an SDG&E account was opened and paid without her consent

“I really didn’t want to see this person in jail. I wanted to take care of business — take care of it within the family," she said. "I prefer family over money."

How could she have not known?

A couple of years ago, Escobar was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She recalls being in and out of the hospital so many times that she decided to put all of her bills on autopay.

“It was so hard and so painful,” she said, describing her treatments and therapy sessions. She never bothered to look at the invoices, receipts and amount of money that was automatically being taken out of her bank account.

How did she find out?

Escobar says she was concerned about the toll her oxygen tank would take on her energy usage and how much more she’d pay every month. She says a nurse told her about SDGE’S Medical Baseline Allowance Program, which helps customers dependent on medical devices mitigate the added energy costs. It’s not a discount but allots more energy at a lower rate.

When she called to find out more about the program, Escobar says that's when she was told about the second account.

“San Diego Gas & Electric told me, ‘Do you know this person? I cannot tell you too much, but I can tell you so-and-so is using your account.' I was like, 'Oh no,'" she said after seeing the other name on her bill.


Escobar says she reported it to SDG&E but a communication breakdown seemed to have gotten in the way.

“We worked with her and had some ongoing calls,” Candace Hadley from SDG&E said. She added that, according to their records, after several instances of phone tag, they never received the documents required to look into her claim.

Escobar assured us she sent them but admits her health issues had taken her focus away from her claim.

Either way, Hadley says they were more than happy to pick up where they had left off almost a year ago.

“We are committed and were committed to help Ms. Escobar find a path forward, and so we were able to reconnect with her with your help,” Hadley said. “If anyone is a victim of fraud, we want you to come to us so that we can be there for you.”

What to do if the same happens to you

SDG&E requires claimants to provide a police report and fill out a few forms found at These can be mailed, emailed or submitted in person at any SDG&E branch.

The forms can be filled out and sent electronically. Additionally, SDG&E says they have personnel that could help fill them out, including for customers who may only speak Spanish and other languages.

“We want our customers to not only feel heard but to feel like they have a solution, and to get justice,” Hadley said.

SDG&E gives a credit to Ms. Escobar as a result of their investigation

Escobar says she’s grateful that NBC 7 Responds was able to help her with SDG&E’s investigation. She received a credit for more than $1,600 along with a check for more than $100. She says the money will help her keep the lights on as she keeps fighting against her disease.

As for the person that opened the account, she says it’s too early to know if someday they will be able to reconcile. She hopes they will.

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