The Gas Company announces relief effort to assist customers hit hard by the January cold weather

Feb 12, 2007

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066

www.socalgas.com

 

         LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12, 2007 – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) today announced a $50,000 corporate donation to provide support to customers affected by the record January cold snap that severely damaged or destroyed agricultural crops in Ventura County and central California.   The January freeze has affected the region’s economy and has resulted in the loss of thousands of farm and packinghouse worker jobs. 

         "Given the widespread devastation caused to the agriculture sector by the January cold weather, it was important for us to extend help to our customers through local community agencies with relief efforts," said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for The Gas Company.  "We hope that The Gas Company is just the first of many companies to partner with relief agencies to respond to the needs of those who have been hurt by the terrible freeze."

        In response to customer needs, The Gas Company’s customer assistance includes a one-time bill payment grant, an income-qualified discount on monthly natural gas bills, and special bill-payment arrangements.  A corporate donation of $30,000 is being made to the Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Kings Counties’ non-profit community services agency, Proteus that focuses on improving the quality of life for valley farm workers.

         An additional donation of $20,000 is being made to the emergency "Freeze Fund" established by the Ventura County United Way and the Ventura County Community Foundation.  The fund will benefit displaced farm workers and their short-term needs.  Relief efforts include eviction prevention, food, utility assistance, and incidentals.

         The Gas Company will provide a one-time grant amount of up to $100 on a customer’s winter bill through its Gas Assistance Fund program.  The program is open to qualified customers, the elderly, disabled, or newly unemployed – those who are struggling to pay their energy bills.   To seek assistance, eligible customers can go to The Gas Company Web site, www.socalgas.com, and look under residential assistance programs to find the nearest participating United Way and its community agencies located throughout central and Southern California, which distribute the Gas Assistance Fund contributions.  In addition, customers can call The Gas Company at (800) 427-2200 for assistance in locating participating agencies.

        For eligible customers with limited income, The Gas Company offers a 20-percent rate discount on monthly gas 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 Direct Assistance Program.  Additionally, The Gas Company offers payment arrangements to residential customers, including the agricultural workers who are experiencing difficulties in paying their bills.

        In partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission and elected officials, The Gas Company is also offering eligible citrus growers and other eligible affected agricultural growers a payment-deferral plan to help minimize the impact of this hardship.

        For more information on the customer assistance efforts, visit The Gas Company’s Web site at www.socalgas.com, or call The Gas Company toll-free at (800) 427-2200.

        The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.8 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. 

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