MY TURN-Call to action. Tired of overpaying for electricity? July 3 deadline to voice your opinion

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In East County, we’re used to the heat – prolonged, sweltering heat much more harsh than in many other parts of the San Diego region. We are also used to the spike in our electricity bills that goes along with the heat. For most of us, staying cool comes at a price, but that doesn’t mean that we are energy hogs and deserve to pay a lot more for energy than what it should cost.

We deal with $300, $400, $500 bills a month in the summer. It’s time we put that to an end.

In East County, we’re used to the heat – prolonged, sweltering heat much more harsh than in many other parts of the San Diego region. We are also used to the spike in our electricity bills that goes along with the heat. For most of us, staying cool comes at a price, but that doesn’t mean that we are energy hogs and deserve to pay a lot more for energy than what it should cost.

We deal with $300, $400, $500 bills a month in the summer. It’s time we put that to an end.

If we use more, we should pay more. That’s fair. What’s not fair is to pay more than twice the cost for the electricity that we use at the end of the month than electricity that we use at the beginning of the month. What sense does that make? To make matters worse, those of us who must rely on air conditioning are being forced to pay more than it costs to serve us to subsidize lower-use customers, many of who live along the coast and can rely on ocean breezes instead of air conditioning to stay cool.

East County residents don’t have that luxury. As a result, many of us are overpaying to the tune of several hundred dollars each month. That’s thousands of dollars every year from the pockets of hardworking local families.

Our state’s leaders recognized this injustice and directed the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop a new energy rate structure that is more fair and equitable for all users. A final decision is expected on Friday. The CPUC can either help bring down our bills to reasonable levels or they can give us even higher electricity bills this summer under one of the plans that they are contemplating. This is not the rate reform East County families deserve. They can help us, but will they?

We need to stand up and let the CPUC know we are sick and tired of being overlooked and forced to overpay. There is still time for East County to be heard, but we have to act now. Time is running out. The CPUC needs to understand that East County families and millions like us across the state have no choice but to use more electricity and we cannot wait any longer for real relief from high-energy bills.

What they decide could be in place for decades, so it’s now or never to make sure they get it right. Visit fixmyenergybill.com and send a letter to the CPUC demanding they fix our energy bills in a meaningful way that helps the East County. This is not the time to sit on the sidelines. This is the time to let the CPUC know that we expect help and that we are watching.

Eric Lund is General Manager of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Fix My Energy Bill Coalition, a group of more than 40 San Diego County businesses and community leaders that is dedicated to ensuring the California Public Utilities Commission develops and implements a fairer and more equitable electricity rate structure for all of California. For more information, visit fixmyenergybill.com.

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