Southern California Gas Co.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2007 – Families who need assistance paying their natural gas bills may receive help through Southern California Gas Co.’s (The Gas Company’s) Gas Assistance Fund program, which provides for a one-time grant amount of up to $100 on a customer’s winter bill. The program is open to qualified customers facing financial hardships.
“Because of the record cold weather over the past several days, many of our customers have been turning up their heaters to stay warm and the result will be higher natural gas bills,” said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for The Gas Company. “For those having trouble paying their gas bill, the Gas Assistance Fund may help.”
The Gas Assistance Fund is a program that for the last 25 years has helped nearly 150,000 Southern Californians – the elderly, disabled, or newly unemployed – who are struggling to pay their energy bills. This program is funded by voluntary contributions from the utility and its customers.
To seek assistance anytime between January and the end of April, eligible customers can go to The Gas Company Web site, www.socalgas.com, and search under residential assistance programs to find the nearest participating United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ 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.
So far this season, The Gas Company has collected nearly $205,000 in customer contributions for its Gas Assistance Fund. The Gas Company will provide up to $250,000 in matching dollars for the program, funded by shareholders of its parent company, Sempra Energy.
Last year, The Gas Company’s Gas Assistance Fund helped over 9,200 customers through a collection of individual contributions and corporate matching funds totaling $800,000. In its 25th anniversary, the Gas Assistance Fund has disbursed approximately $13.3 million to more than 142,000 families in need.
Mueller encouraged customers who may have difficulty paying their gas bills to contact The Gas Company to work out special payment arrangements. To reduce energy costs, The Gas Company 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, The Gas Company offers a 20-percent rate discount on monthly gas 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 Direct Assistance Program.
For more information, 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.