SDG&E customers save through bill-assistance program
New CARE income guidelines expand eligibility

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, May 31, 2007 – More low-income customers are now eligible to receive a 20 percent discount on their San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) electric and natural gas bills, due to new income guidelines that go into effect June 1 for qualified customers enrolled in the money-saving, state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.

        More than 100,000 residents in the SDG&E service area are financially eligible but have not yet enrolled in the CARE program, according to SDG&E.

        “Thousands of eligible customers who are qualified for our 20 percent discount on their monthly energy bill have not yet enrolled in the CARE program," said Michelle Mueller, SDG&E’s vice president of customer service.  "We are partnering with community groups throughout our service region to ensure that customers, who qualify, regardless of where they live, are aware of this program and enroll as soon as possible."

        Last year, SDG&E CARE customers saved, on average, $200 annually under the program.  About 219,000 customers throughout SDG&E’s service area already have enrolled in the CARE program.

        Applying for the CARE Program is easy, according to the utility:

           • Customers may be eligible if they currently receive benefits from Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, Food Stamps, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
           • All non-participating residential customers will find a CARE application included in their July bill mailer;
           • Customers can call a toll-free multilingual assistance line: (800) 411-SDGE (7343) to get more information and request an application form;
           • Customers can apply online in English and Spanish at or by downloading a CARE application in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and faxing or mailing it to SDG&E. 

        Every year, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adjusts the maximum qualifying income levels to reflect changes in the federal poverty guidelines.  These higher income levels mean that more customers can now qualify. The new CARE income guidelines, effective June 1, based on pre-tax annual income, are as follows:

               Number of People
                Per Household  Previous Income Guidelines      New Income Guidelines
                                               (Effective June 1, 2007)

                   1 or 2                          $28,600                          $29,300

                     3                               $33,600                          $34,400

                     4                               $40,500                          $41,500

                     5                               $47,400                          $48,600

                 Add $7,100 for each additional household member

        Besides CARE, SDG&E offers a variety of other assistance programs, appliance and home-improvement rebates, and energy audits to help assist its low- income, disabled and senior citizen customers:

           • Neighbor-to-Neighbor – This fund helps provide a grant to help customers pay their energy bill;
           • FERA – The Family Electric Rate Assistance program is for large households of three or more persons;
           • Energy Team - Provides free minor home energy improvements, including weatherization measures to customers;
           • Medical Baseline – For residential customers with special health needs;
           • Level Payment Plan – Offers monthly payments that can be spread equally throughout the year.

        Additional information on these assistance programs is available from SDG&E’s Web site,

        SDG&E currently serves 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 830,000 natural gas meters.  The utility’s service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.  To learn more, go to