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Oceanside woman finds out SDG&E gas bill tied to neighbor's meter

“It seems the gas meter for my house is wrong and whoever is using gas near me, I’m paying their bill," Bannon said after SDG&E examination of her home.

SAN DIEGO — There is an update on the Oceanside woman who said she received sticker shock when she returned from visiting family in Europe over the holidays to a much higher SDG&E energy bill than when she was at home.

On Monday, SDG&E sent out three employees to her building and determined that her meter is reading the usage of a neighbor.

In November, Julie Bannon left for Vienna and was gone for six weeks and when she returned, she had a $115 SDG&E bill when her bill typically averages $70 to $90 per month.

CBS 8 assisted Bannon in getting in contact with an SDG&E representative who came out to conduct an examination of her appliances where it was determined that she had been billed from a neighbor's gas meter instead of her own.

“It seems the gas meter for my house is wrong and whoever is using gas near me, I’m paying their bill. My account number does not correspond with my townhouse on the meter. So next stop, the billing department [is] going to call me, and I believe they are going to check all the meters in the complex,” Bannon told CBS 8. “Bottom line, if I had not been away and got a high bill this may never have come to light. This will go back to 2008 when I first moved in. This was my argument from the beginning. Finally, now it will hopefully get resolved.“  

SDG&E sent a statement to CBS 8 after their visit to Julie Bannon’s home:

“After our preliminary visit last week, we appreciate Ms. Bannon giving us full access to her home to conduct a thorough examination of all of her gas appliances, which are all operating safely. The gas meters on her building are also functioning properly, but after a variety of on-site tests, it does appear she was billed from a neighbor’s gas meter. We are still conducting additional research to verify this, but are grateful to Ms. Bannon for continuing to challenge us and are in touch with her directly to reach a resolution on her latest bill.”

ORIGINAL STORY: 'Frustrating, stressful' | Oceanside widow receives increased SDG&E bill after returning from 6-week vacation

Bannon lives alone in her 1,500-square-foot condo and conserves energy.

“I’m not using any power whatsoever ever. I use my dryer once a week which is on gas," she said. 

Her SDG&E bill averages about $70 to $90 a month so when she received the $115 gas and electric bill she called SDG&E and was put on hold for 90 minutes.

“A surge on the 20th she said,” said Bannon.

But Ms. Bannon showed CBS 8 her airline tickets that shows she flew to Vienna on November 20th and came home on January 2nd.

After her initial conversation with the representative a week later an SDG&E technician went to Bannon’s home to check for any gas leaks. None were found and he told her the meter was working.

“He said, ‘it wasn’t spinning around so they read it electronically and they obviously read it wrong,’” said Bannon.

She said the technician told her he would make note of it in the report. She called SDG&E to follow up with the issue.

The spokesperson said they did not find any inaccuracies on their end rather she used 44 therms during her December bill which was up from 15 the month prior and higher than when she returned.

Utility companies use therms to measure a customer’s consumption. SDG&E said the average customer used 31 therms in December.  

“What person uses that amount of power? I just don’t. I just don’t,” said Bannon.

SDG&E said while she was gone her usage remained consistent with one to two therms a day so Bannon may have left something on.

But Bannon said she only left the refrigerator and one light on and her son and neighbor checked as well.

“Frustrating, stressful and you don’t know what to do next,” said Bannon.

Bannon wanted to contest her bill, but she didn't know how, CBS 8 walked her through the process of how you can do it for free. Click here to find out how to dispute your SDG&E bill.

To learn more about SDG&E’s rate hikes and CBS 8’s Amped Up coverage click here.

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