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Retiree opposes SDG&E’s proposed rate hike

By Austin Grabish,


Retiree Esmat Baradar says she’s had to start layering up while in her apartment because she can’t afford her SDG&E bill anymore.

“I’m going to protest. I cannot take it anymore… I can’t stop eating and go on food bank and go begging around. No, I have some pride,” said the 85-year-old San Diego resident who lives near Balboa Park.

Baradar spoke to ABC 10News ahead of a public hearing Thursday by SDG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission.

SDG&E is proposing a 17.5% increase in residential natural gas rates from 2024-2027 and a 5.3% increase in electricity. It comes as the company says about 300,000 San Diegans are behind on their power bills.

The proposal follows sky-high bills that customers were hit with in January and February. The company said market issues and a downed pipeline were largely to blame for the 146% increase in natural gas cost that customers saw on their bills.

Austin Grabish
Residents speak at a public hearing in Sherman Heights Thursday in opposition to a proposed SDG&E rate hike.

Baradar said her power bill went from $40 to $260. She said even with financial aid she can’t afford a further rate hike.

“Look at me I’m wearing three, four layers every time and I have blankets all the time,” she said when explaining how she tries to conserve power.

Have you been impacted by rising utility bills? Share your story by emailing

Isaiah Glasoe said he’s stopped paying his bill in protest of the rising rates.

"I think it's really immoral for a for-profit monopoly to be price gouging, you know, thousands of San Diegans."

SDG&E spokesman Anthony Wagner said the rate hike would let the company get critical infrastructure and help it achieve climate goals.

“What’s important is that our customers don’t have to feel like they’re struggling. We are here for our customers. If you’re in communication with us, I can assure you that we’ll work on a plan that’s right for you,” he said.

Wagner said the company hasn’t shut anyone’s power off since before the pandemic started.

Asked to respond to customers’ concerns they’re being gauged, he said “San Diego Gas and Electric and 4,600 people I represent are working every day to do right by our customer.”

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