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San Diego Gas & Electric surging rates shock customers

While temperatures remain low, residents are thinking twice before cranking up the heat due to a rise in SDG&E rates. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne takes a closer look at the price increase.

Fallbrook resident Brenda Hudspeth, used to receive an income-based discount on her San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) bill. But this year, she no longer qualifies for the discount.

“It's pretty upsetting that I’m not eligible for a discount and my bill has literally tripled... and it just me and my daughter,” she said.

Hudspeth and her daughter live in a 2 bedroom apartment.


“Previously my bills were in the $30, 40 range," she said. "My first bill in January was $88. I went to my mailbox and my bill this month is $98.”

She isn't alone. Residents county-wide are seeing an increase in their gas and electric bills.

RELATED: New community energy program offers alternative to SDG&E

As of January first, SDG&E increased its rates. On its website, the utility said it’s required to update energy pricing to reflect the costs of providing clean, safe and reliable service to customers.

It lists a number of factors prompting the increase, from a global rise in costs to wildfire mitigation efforts.


"We understand our customers' frustration with higher bills that are being impacted in part by higher natural gas prices seen globally and increased gas usage due to an unusually cold December," SDG&E said in a statement. "While there is never a good time to raise rates… SDG&E is committed to working with customers.”

SDG&E customers are not the only ones feeling the pinch. On Monday SoCalGas, a Sempra company like SDG&E, sent an email to its customers in Southern California to explain why their gas bills are higher.

"During colder weather, customers on average experience a three to seven times increase in their natural gas usage primarily due to space heating and corresponding increases in utility bills," the company wrote. "Natural gas prices are higher across the country this winter. In addition, on January 1, 2022, two rate changes approved by the CPUC in 2019 went into effect."

SDG&E said customers should log on to their accounts to make sure they are on the best plan and to see if they qualify for any assistance programs.

But consumers like Hudspeth, who don't qualify for any assistance programs, said they are left trying to make ends meet.

"Gas is $4.50 a gallon, rents have skyrocketed. Food is outrageous," she said. "And now my utilities have tripled and I'm really feeling it right now."