SAN DIEGO — Many San Diegans are struggling to pay their utility bills, and now one local representative is calling on the state to help.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission suggesting the state use a portion of its expected $45 billion surplus this year to offset certain state mandated programs SDG&E customers pay for. Those programs include the wildfire relief fund, infrastructure projects and public benefit programs for low-income rate payers.
Desmond says he gets about 10 to 15 calls a day from people saying they can’t afford their bills.
"Most of the people contacting me are the ones on fixed incomes and they're scared and saying wait a minute, my rent is going up, it's costing more to buy food these days, put gas in the car, so is there any way you can get some relief," said Desmond.
In the letter, Desmond writes the state should,
"….immediately implement measures to alleviate rising energy costs, providing relief to the ratepayers of San Diego."
“It's our money. It's the people's money and so what I'd like to see is some of that surplus being put towards those particularly on a fixed income and seniors and people like that who can't afford these higher rates who are in need," said Desmond.
On Tuesday, CBS 8 sat down with an SDG&E executive who talked about programs that help people pay their bills.
But Desmond says that's not enough, which is why he is pushing the state to step in and do more.
“It’s affecting all of us and those on fixed income are really coming up short here,” said Desmond.
To our knowledge, Desmond is the only local lawmaker to make this specific request.
At this point, Desmond has not received a response.
Watch Related: Full interview | CBS 8 sits down with SDG&E to discuss rising costs, frustrated customers (Feb 22, 2022)