Class Claims SDG&E Cheats on Billing

SAN DIEGO (CN) – A class action accuses San Diego Gas & Electric of overcharging customers by billing them at its most expensive, coastal rate, though they live in the utility’s inland, mountain, or desert zones. The class claims the false billings catapulted them into exponentially higher monthly bills.

     San Diego Gas & Electric is a privately owned subsidiary of Sempra Co., which provides gas and electricity to about 3.4 million homes in San Diego and south Orange counties.
     The company bills customers based on tiered baseline rates, which reflect customers’ daily energy allowance for basic needs at the lowest rate for their “climate zone.”
     Once a customer’s use exceeds the baseline allowance, the electric rates become progressively higher.
     Customers in the inland, mountain, and desert zones claim SDG&E has been charging them the most expensive, coastal baseline rate. It is the most expensive because coastal customers, who presumably live in a more temperate zone, are assigned a lower consumption baseline, which makes the surcharge for extra use kick in more quickly.
     Sempra Energy had revenue of more than $11 billion in 2008, the complaint states. Enova Corp., another private subsidiary of Sempra, is also named as a defendant.
     The class seeks damages for unfair business practices, misrepresentation, negligence, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
     The class is represented in Superior Court by Wayne Kreger with Milstein, Adelman & Kreger of Santa Monica.

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