Southern California Gas Co.
LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2007 – More low-income customers are now are eligible to receive a 20 percent discount on their Southern California Gas Company (The Gas Company) natural gas bill, 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 517,000 residents in The Gas Company’s service area are financially eligible but have not yet enrolled in the CARE program, according to The Gas Company.
“Thousands of eligible customers who are qualified for our 20 percent discount on their monthly gas bill have not yet enrolled in the CARE program," said Michelle Mueller, The Gas Company’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, The Gas Company CARE customers saved, on average, $81.24 annually under the program. More than 1.2 million customers throughout The Gas Company’s service area already have enrolled in the CARE program.
Applying for the CARE Program is easy, according to the utility:
• All non-participating residential customer will find a CARE application included in their July bill mailer;
• Customers can call a toll-free multilingual assistance line: (800) 427-2200 to get more information and request an application form;
• Customers can find and download a CARE application in English, Spanish and Chinese online at www.socalgas.com, mail a completed form to The Gas Company.
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
The new income guidelines also allow eligible customers to participate in the Direct Assistance Program. The home energy-savings-improvement service was created to help customers save money on their energy bills.
The Gas Company’s Direct Assistance Program offers income-qualified renters and homeowners no-cost services such as: door weather-stripping and caulking to keep unwanted drafts out of the home; ceiling insulation to help the home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter; low-flow showerheads that can save energy used to heat water and other miscellaneous minor home repairs.
Besides CARE, The Gas Company 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:
• Medical Baseline – For residential customers dependent on life-support equipment;
• Level Payment Plan – Offers monthly payments that can spread equally throughout the year;
• Gas Assistance Fund – This assistance fund helps provide a one time grant to customers during the winter who are unable to pay their bill.
Additional information on these assistance programs is available from The Gas Company’s Web site, www.socalgas.com.
The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.1 million consumers through 5.6 million meters. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California. The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community. The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2006 revenues of nearly $12 billion. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.
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