SDG&E offers bill-payment assistance for limited-income customers

Jan 30, 2007

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, Jan. 30, 2007 – Families who need assistance paying their energy bills may receive help through San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E’s) Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund program, which provides for a grant amount of up to $250 on a customer’s bill.  The program is open to qualified customers facing financial hardships and who are not otherwise eligible for state or federal energy assistance.

        “Because of the record cold weather over the past several weeks, many of our customers have been turning up their heaters to stay warm and the result will be higher energy bills,” said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for SDG&E.  “For those having trouble paying their energy bill, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund may help.”

        The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund is a program that has helped many SDG&E customers– the elderly, disabled, or newly unemployed – who are struggling to pay their energy bills.  This program is funded by contributions from the utility and its customers. 

        To seek assistance, eligible customers should call 2-1-1 to be referred to the nearest participating community agencies, which distribute the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund contributions. 

        Last year, SDG&E’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund helped over 1,800 customers through a collection of individual contributions and corporate funds totaling more than $200,000.

        Mueller encouraged customers who may have difficulty paying their gas bills to contact SDG&E to work out special payment arrangements.  To reduce energy costs, SDG&E suggests the following tips:

           • 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.

           • Up to 40 percent of a home’s heat loss takes place due to inadequate attic and wall insulation.  Upgrade insulation to save up to 25 percent on heating costs.

           • Have air ducts tested for leaks.  Seal any leaks and save up to 20 percent on winter 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 weather-strip 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.

        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, free energy-saving home improvements, including repair or replacement of qualifying home furnaces, through the Energy Team.

        For more information, visit SDG&E’s Web site at, or call SDG&E toll-free at (800) 411-SDGE (7343). 

        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. 

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