SDG&E natural gas customers can expect 20-percent drop in winter heating bills

Low-income assistance funds increased

Feb 17, 2009

Media Contact:
Denise King

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, Feb. 17, 2009 – Due to a decline in commodity costs, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) natural gas customers can expect their heating bills to be 20-percent lower this winter than last year.

        The average monthly residential winter heating bill (for 50 therms of natural gas) is expected to be about $50 to $60, down from $67 last year.  The combined monthly energy bill for a typical residential customer is likely to be about $120 to $140, as compared with $138 last year, based on 50 therms of gas usage and 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity usage.  Customers in some parts of the county may see increased electric bills, based on higher power consumption.

        The recent drop in natural gas commodity prices is a result of high gas storage inventories nationwide, abundant supplies in gas-producing regions and lower demand in the industrial sector.  Under California’s regulatory framework, SDG&E passes the wholesale price of natural gas through to customers without mark-up.

        “The lower gas commodity prices are good news for our customers at a time when many families are facing difficult economic times,” said Richard M. Morrow, vice president of customer services for SDG&E.  “We want to help our customers stay warm this winter and encourage them to call if they need bill payment options or assistance.”

        SDG&E also announced today that it is increasing assistance funds available to qualified customers.  SDG&E’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund provides up to $200 per customer for bill assistance.  Sempra Energy, parent company of SDG&E, is contributing $150,000 to expand the fund to a total of more than $400,000.  The program is open to qualified customers who are experiencing temporary financial hardship and are not eligible for state or federal assistance.  Customers eligible for government assistance must apply for energy assistance under those programs before being considered for Neighbor-to-Neighbor assistance.  These funds are available now.  Customers may call 2-1-1 to find participating agencies. 

        For customers in need of assistance in paying their natural gas bills or in making their homes more energy efficient, SDG&E offers a range of programs and services.  To enroll in these programs and services, or for more information on how to reduce winter energy bills, visit SDG&E’s Web site at, or call (800) 411-7343.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 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 subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.