electricity

SDG&E Overcharges University Heights Woman by Hundreds

NBC 7 Responds looked at why one woman was having trouble with energy bills each totaling hundreds of dollars.

NBC Universal, Inc.

There's usually some concern when an energy bill spikes. People might think they've left appliances running or made another mistake. But what do you do when your energy bills each charge hundreds of dollars?

"My first electric bill was about $700," said Robyn Quick, who lives in University Heights. "I live in an eight-plux where everybody else pays about $50 to $70 a month."

Quick works as a nurse and said with her shifts, she isn't home a lot, so she knew she wasn't using that much electricity.

"I literally do like two loads of laundry a week, run the dishwasher at nighttime," said Quick. "I've paid like $3,800 to the electric company in the past year."

Quick said she spoke with neighbors and asked for their bills to compare the price of energy. The only difference she found was her 600 square foot apartment had an old meter instead of the newer digital ones. However, she said once the digital meter was installed a few months ago, her bill fell from $300 to $80 a month.

"I mean, I owned a house with a pool and a hot tub that ran 24/7 for 12 years in Claremont and my bills were never more than $350," Quick said.

She said the phone calls to SDG&E did not provide any answers, so she filed complaints with both the city of San Diego and the California Public Utilities Commission, but still did not get any answers.

"I don't know how they can look at a bill and not physically come to my house or the building to see if there's any kind of electrical issues," Quick said.

That's when she reached out to NBC 7 Responds. We contacted SDG&E who then began working with Quick to help find the issue. In a statement the company told us:

"We take all customer complaints very seriously and investigate them thoroughly. In this case, we did not provide ... the positive customer experience our customers expect and deserve. We appreciate her bringing the issue to our attention and will continue to work with her to ensure we earn back her confidence in us.”

SDG&E told NBC 7 they also enrolled Quick in the CARES program which provides cheaper energy prices and sent someone to her home to audit energy usage.

Quick told us she also had $1,200 in outstanding energy bills forgiven under a debt forgiveness program.

If you are struggling with your energy bills, you can find information on SDG&E's assistance programs and payment plans here.

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