SDG&E Offering Alternate Payment Methods as Pandemic, Heatwave Lift Energy Costs

NBC 7 Responds looked at the resources available for people having trouble paying their higher electric bills

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Energy use is already higher than normal with more people at home during the pandemic. Add an extended heatwave, and you could see a nasty number on your electric bill.

With that in mind, San Diego Gas & Electric is trying to save its customers from burning holes in their pockets.

"We understand during the pandemic, people struggle financially," said SDG&E spokeswoman Sara Prince. "We are offering flexible payment plans by up to 12 months for our customers."

From April to August, SDG&E says residential energy usage went up by 9% while business usage decreased by 10%.

"They're working from home, they're homeschooling, there's a lot that's going on this year," said Prince. "We've definitely seen some interesting changes in energy usage."

If your job has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you might qualify for help you wouldn't have in the past.

"You can go on and take advantage of these programs and get up to 30% off of your bill," said Prince. "Go on to see if you qualify at this point."

During the pandemic, more people have already signed up for these programs. Prince says they have seen an 8% increase in people using alternate payment plans.

If your bills are higher during the summer months, there's a program called "level pay."

"It takes the 12 month average and uses it," said Prince. "It will calculate the bill for a three months average bill."

That way your bill is split into four payments for three months each.

SDG&E is also waiving late payment fees to help people during the pandemic.

"That way if they're late with a payment, they don't have to worry about paying the fee," said Prince.

If you want to see if any of these alternate payment plans can help you, read more about them here.

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