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Family sues SCE after alleged pot-growing tenant racks up $140K bill

A local family is suing Southern California Edison for cutting off their electricity when they refused to pay a six-figure bill.
February 19, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A local family is suing Southern California Edison for cutting off their electricity when they refused to pay a six-figure bill. At the center of the controversy is a marijuana farm.

SCE shut off the power to the family's Rowland Heights home a couple weeks ago, leaving Chi Sun, his mother, his wife, and their 5-month-old daughter in the dark with no heat or any electric necessities.

"We are so miserable. I can't even wash my hair. I can't even make solid food for my baby. I can't even pump my breast milk for her," said Sun's wife, Mitha Pratiwi.

SCE says Sun owes the utility nearly $140,000 -- racked up at a house in Corona. Sun owned the house and rented it out to a man who's been charged with running a marijuana grow operation inside. Sun says he didn't know the man was growing marijuana there.

He says the man illegally bypassed SCE's meter box to steal the electricity used to power all the grow lights. Hence, the massive power bill. But instead of going after the man police arrested, Edison has saddled Sun with the bill because it was his name on the power bill.

"The landlord should not be responsible for the damage resulting from the criminal act of a tenant," said the family's attorney, Michael Lo.

Sun's mother, Su Chee Sun, is suing SCE because it turned off the power at the family's Rowland Heights house. They all live there, but the utility account is under Su Chee Sun's name.

"She has nothing to do with the electrical service in Corona. I don't believe that's fair," said Lo.

Eyewitness News contacted SCE for a response to the lawsuit. It released a statement saying, "In keeping with the approach SCE generally takes with respect to pending litigation, SCE will not comment on the merits of this matter."

Meantime, the family sparingly uses a generator for small bursts of electricity. The generator is too loud to run for long in their neighborhood and too weak to power the refrigerator or furnace. They're hoping a judge will get SCE to turn their power back on.

The case is set to go before a judge on March 12.

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