SDG&E offers cold-weather tips for saving energy, money

Media Contact:
Anne Silva

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, March 9, 2006 - With unseasonably cold weather expected in the Southland beginning tomorrow night, and with chances of heavy showers and a snow level as low as 1,500 feet in some areas, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) officials are offering a number of cold-weather tips.

        "As Mother Nature turns down the temperature, we tend to turn up the thermostat," said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. 

        SDG&E offers these tips for a warm, safe and energy-efficient winter:

            • Home heating and water heating make up about 85 percent of winter natural gas use.  The best way to help keep winter gas bills lower is to conserve energy.

            • When using the home furnace, lower the thermostat 3 degrees to 5 degrees (health permitting) and turn it off when not at home.  This can help save up to 20 percent on heating costs.

           • Check the furnace filter monthly and clean or replace it, per manufacturer’s recommendations, to save up to 2 percent on heating costs.

           • Caulk and weatherstrip drafty doors and windows to save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

           • Use an extra blanket and turn down the furnace thermostat at night as the weather turns cooler.
           • Take shorter, cooler showers.  For a family of four, a seven-minute shower a day per person
could save about $30 on the monthly gas bill.

          •  Use cold or cool water when washing clothes to save up to 10 percent on hot-water costs.

          •  Fix leaky faucets to prevent hot water from being wasted.

          •  Run the dishwasher only when full.

          •  Have air ducts tested for leaks and seal any leaks to save up to 20 percent on heating costs.

        SDG&E offers rebates on qualified high-efficiency natural gas furnaces, water heaters, attic and wall insulation and other home-improvement items.  Energy-efficiency program information and applications are available at

        For eligible customers with limited income, SDG&E offers a 20 percent rate discount on monthly energy bills through the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program and free energy-saving home improvements, including repair or replacement of qualifying home furnaces, through the Energy Team.  Income guidelines have been revised for these programs to allow more customers to be eligible.  One-time, winter-bill assistance also is available for eligible customers through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.

        For more information on conservation and simple home improvement tips, as well as energy-efficiency rebates and applications, customers should visit SDG&E’s Web site at, or call SDG&E toll-free at (800) 411-SDGE (7343).  Customers are asked to have their account number handy for faster service.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  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.