Pay Bills

SDG&E bill breakdown: Customers pay more for taxes, charges and fees than actual usage

SAN DIEGO- As for the outrage over these high bills, CBS 8 is as “amped up” as you are and we’re not letting that go, continuing to demand answers for you, until we get them. And if you would like to provide feedback to SDG&E, you can do so by CLICK HERE. If you wish to file a complaint with CPUC, Click here.

CBS 8 has learned that the majority of what customers pay has more to do with taxes, fees and surcharges, as opposed to actual usage.

“When an SDGE&E customer looks at their bills, there are a number of costs embedded in them,” said Edward Lopez, executive director of Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN).

Lopez said some of those costs have nothing to do with how much gas and energy individual customers use.

“These are CPUC-approved costs. SDG&E requested that these types of costs be recovered and they are completely separate and independent in terms of what you do for your energy use,” Lopez said.

Reporter Shannon Handy cited a recent bill from a CBS 8 colleague as an example.

This month it’s $278.50.

She used 10 therms of gas and 568 kilowatt hours of electricity.

This usage totals $76.68, or about a quarter of the total bill.

Taxes, charges and fees make up the remainder.

The largest cost comes from transmission and distribution. In other words, how energy gets from its source to your home.

These costs have increased in part due to a shortage of natural gas, since natural gas is used to generate electricity.

The more energy you use, the higher this number will be.

Then there are the public utility programs, which include helping low-income customers.

“It helps low-income customers pay their energy bills. It’s subsidized by other SDG&E customers,” Lopez said.

There is also a wildfire fund charge to support the state’s $21 billion wildfire insurance fund.

Additional costs include a City of San Diego franchise fee differential and nuclear decommissioning fee.

Ultimately, while there are ways to lower your bill, including switching to airtime programs, much of what you pay is not within your control.

“You can be very good, you can’t use energy at the most expensive times, you could have taken a lot of efficiency measures – change your light bulbs, use better appliances, but you’ll still have costs, and in many cases significant costs that are going to add to your bill,” Lopez said.

WATCH RELATED: Engineer Questions $3 Billion SDG&E Project in East San Diego County