Customers now have more ways to enroll in SDG&E’s bill-assistance program

Aug 10, 2010

Media Contact:
April Sharp

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066



        SAN DIEGO, Aug. 10, 2010 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has made enrolling in the state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) bill-assistance program even more convenient for customers thanks to a toll-free phone enrollment system.  Customers who enroll in the CARE program may be eligible for a bill savings of up to 35 percent on their SDG&E bill every month.


        “We recognize that during these tough economic times not all of our customers have easy access to a computer or want to wait for their paper application to be processed,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E.  “By providing more enrollment options and making the process as easy as possible, we hope to reach all of our customers who may be eligible for the program.”


        Using a touch-tone key pad, customers can enroll in the CARE program in a few minutes by calling 1-877-646-5525; all they need is their account number.  This is in great contrast to the several weeks it can take to mail and process paper applications.      


        “The economy’s slow recovery is putting many of our customers in unchartered territory,” said Snyder.  “We believe there are a number of customers who may be unemployed for the first time and don’t realize they are eligible for the discount.  If customers are struggling to pay their bill, we urge them to call us to discuss all of their options.”


        More than 280,000 customers throughout SDG&E’s service area are currently enrolled in the CARE program and benefit from the discount.  SDG&E estimates there are some 70,000 customers who are eligible but have yet to enroll.


        The new phone enrollment system is not only good for the customer, it is good for the environment as SDG&E continues to look for more ways to incorporate environmentally responsible business practices into day-to-day operations.  Reducing paper is one such way.


        Customers may qualify for the CARE program one of two ways: through their participation in certain public assistance programs, or based on their household’s size and income.  For customers who are recently unemployed, household income is calculated from the date of unemployment.  All other provisions on determining income still apply.


        Qualification criteria:

        • Regardless of income, customers may be eligible if they are currently enrolled in any of    the following public assistance programs:  Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families A & B, CalWorks/TANF or Tribal TANF, Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only), Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Food Stamps/SNAP, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI).   
        • Customers may qualify if their current annual household income meets the latest threshold.  The income guidelines below will be in effect from June 1, 2010 - May 31, 2011.


Number of People

Per Household


Income Guidelines

1 or 2








*Add $7,600 for each additional household member


        Applying for the program is easy and customers may use any of the following ways to apply:

        • A toll-free automated enrollment line (877) 646-5525
        • Online at
        • Requesting an application from SDG&E’s customer service at (800) 411-7343


        In addition to the CARE program, SDG&E offers a variety of other assistance programs that save energy and money, such as no-cost home improvements and energy-efficient appliances for income-qualified renters and homeowners, reduced energy costs for customers with certain medical conditions/equipment, and payment extensions for those who need extra help:


        • Energy Team: Will make your family more comfortable and secure by sealing  your place from the heat and cold and upgrading old inefficient appliances;
        • Neighbor-to-Neighbor: This fund provides a grant to help customers pay their gas and electric bills;
        • Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA): Provides lower rates for households of three or more persons;
        • Medical Baseline: Reduced energy costs for customers who have medical conditions/equipment that impact their bill;
        • Level Payment Plan: Allows for monthly payments to be spread evenly throughout the year.


        Additional information on these assistance programs is available from SDG&E’s Web site,


        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.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.