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

"When an SDGE&E customer looks at their bills, there's a number of costs embedded there,” said Edward Lopez, executive director of UCAN.

SAN DIEGO — When it comes to outrage over these high bills, CBS 8 is as "Amped Up" as you are and we aren't letting this go, continuing to demand answers for you, until we get them. And if you’d like to give your feedback to SDG&E, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. If you’d like to file a complaint with CPUC, click here.

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

"When an SDGE&E customer looks at their bills, there's a number of costs embedded there,” 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 are using.

"These are costs approved by the CPUC. SDG&E has sought these types of costs to be recovered and they are totally separate and independent in terms of what you do for your energy usage," said Lopez.

Reporter Shannon Handy looked at a fellow CBS 8 employee’s recent bill as an example.

This month, it's $278.50.

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

That usage totals $76.68, which is about a quarter of the total bill.

Taxes, charges and fees make up the rest.

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

Those costs have risen in part because of a natural gas shortage, since natural gas is used to generate electricity.

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

Then there are Public Purpose Programs, which include assistance for low-income customers.

"That helps low-income customers meet and pay their energy bills. It's subsidized by other SDG&E customers," said Lopez.

There's 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 a Nuclear Decommissioning Fee.

Bottom line, while there are ways to lower your bill, including opting into time-of-use programs, a lot of what you're paying isn't under your control.

"You can be very good, you cannot be using energy at the most expensive times, you could have adopted a lot of efficiency measures-change out your lightbulbs, use better appliances, but still you're gonna have costs, and in many cases significant costs that are gonna add up to your bill," said Lopez.

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