Just got your SDG&E bill? Brace yourself - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Just got your SDG&E bill? Brace yourself

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Many San Diegans turned to their air conditioners to keep cool during the hot weather and now their SDG&E bills are starting to arrive.

"I was just surprised. I mean, my wife yelled at me," said George Chen.

Chen says he thought he was doing everything right. The Carmel Valley resident keeps lights off during the day, the patio door open for air flow and his thermostat set. But, when he received his San Diego Gas and Electric Bill this month, he was floored.

"The bill is $669," said Chen.

Chen says his bill is usually less than $300 a month. Like many San Diegans, Chen has been battling the long-standing heat wave by using his air conditioner more often.

CBS News 8 spoke with several other San Diegans who were just as sticker-shocked as Chen. Many say their utility bills were more than double what they usually pay.

"Air conditioning is one of our biggest energy users in the home," said Allison Torres.

Torres works for SDG&E and she says aside from the normal energy saving tips, like using LED light bulbs and specialty power strips, when it comes to keeping cool, there are other things you can do to try and keep your bill down.

"We like to promote using fans, whether they are ceiling or portable fans. They're going to save you 80-90% on your cooling costs," said Torres.

Another tip is to be aware of what you’re spending by going onto SDG&E’s MyAccount and setting up text and email alerts.

"It will let you know when you have reached your bill cap or where you want it to monitor and alert you," said Torres.

If that doesn’t work, you can do what Chen's neighbor did and switch over to solar. His bill was only $40.

"I’ve been meaning to do it for years and I just haven't pushed to do it. I will probably do it now," said Chen.

SDG&E officials say if your bill is too high, there are programs that can help for those who qualify. 

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