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Widow receives $1,257 SDG&E refund but she believes she's owed more

SDG&E says it can only go back three years to refund with ratepayer money but added more not paid by ratepayer dollars.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — After nearly two months of disputes, SDG&E found Julie Bannon's meter was incorrectly hooked up and she was paying for her neighbor's usage for 14 years.

She finally received her refund check from SDG&E but believes she may be owed more money than what she was refunded.

What started as a high SDG&E bill while the widow was out of the country for six weeks, turned into an investigation pushed by CBS 8. 

And we found that Bannon’s meter was hooked up to her neighbor's meter the entire 14 years she lived in her Oceanside condo.

“Very stressful, very, very stressful. I shouldn't have to go through this. It's just really stressful for me,” said Bannon.

SDG&E admits when the condos were built in 1994, the builder hooked up the wrong meters to the 4 units in her complex and they did not double check the work.

After disputing her bill with SDG&E, filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) who regulates SDG&E, Bannon received a $1,257 check from SDG&E but she feels she's owed more.

“I just wanted that investigated, because they're just going back three years. And I don't think that's fair if I'd been living in this house and paying someone else's bill for 14 years,” said Bannon.

She says she asked for a breakdown of her usage and how much that adds up in a refund.

SDG&E only went back to 2019, which added up to a $293 refund.

She says SDG&E told her they would add more to the refund to compensate for the 14 years but didn't explain their calculation.

"No one seems to want to answer the question, why they will not go back 14 years, their explanation is best as far as they go back for three years, which I think is very unfair,” said Bannon.

CBS 8 reached out to SDG&E to help her get an answer. In an email statement a spokesperson wrote:

"SDG&E tariffs, approved by the CPUC, limit our ability to refund beyond three years with ratepayer funds. Given the circumstances in this situation where we did not provide the level of customer service Ms. Bannon deserves, SDG&E provided additional compensation not funded by ratepayer dollars." 

From a CBS 8 calculation, if you average out the $293 in three year increments over 14 years it adds up to about $1,367. 

Bannon says SDG&E says it also took out what she owes on her current bill and that equals to about the $1,257 she was refunded.

“That's what I think they've done then,” said Bannon.

The widow says she never gave up and hopes she can put this behind her.

“I'm very tenacious and I feel like that it's wrong,” said Bannon.

CBS 8 assisted Ms. Bannon on how to dispute her bill with SDG&E, the CPUC as well as reporting it to the Better Business Bureau.

First call SDG&E. Call volume is higher than normal, and you may have a long wait time.

CPUC encourages ratepayers to work it out with SDG&E first and then file a complaint with the CPUC.

You can also file a complaint with the BBB who works with the company to resolve the issue.

WATCH RELATED: CPUC says it has received 263 calls and 65 complaints from SDG&E customers since January 1 (March 2022)

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