Southern California Gas Co.
LOS ANGELES, June 3, 2010 – More low-income customers now are eligible to receive a 20-percent discount on their Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) natural gas bills due to new income guidelines that went into effect on June 1 for qualified customers enrolled in the money-saving, state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.
“We are committed to enrolling as many eligible customers as possible in CARE, so they can benefit from the 20-percent savings on their monthly energy bill – especially during these challenging economic times,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. “Through our partnerships with community groups and other outreach efforts, we are trying to make sure all our customers are aware of the many kinds of assistance available to ease their hardship.”
Last year, SoCalGas CARE customers saved, on average, $62 annually under the program. About 1.61 million customers throughout SoCalGas’ service area already have enrolled in the CARE program. Customers may be automatically eligible if they currently receive benefits from Medical/Medicaid, Healthy Families A & B, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, The Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or LIHEAP programs.
As of June 1, the new CARE income guidelines, based on pre-tax annual income, are as follows:
Number of People
Per Household New Income Guidelines
1 or 2 $31,300
Add $7,600 for each additional household member
In addition to CARE, SoCalGas offers a wide range of assistance programs for qualifying customers on a limited income or with special medical needs.
• The Direct Assistance Program provides energy-saving home improvements to income-qualified renters and homeowners. Services include; 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; furnace replacement (owner occupied only) and other minor home repairs.
• Customers who have a person in the home with certain medical conditions – who may require additional heating to sustain their health, may qualify for additional natural gas at the lowest baseline rate through the Medical Baseline Allowance program. There are no income requirements for the Medical Baseline program; however doctor certification is required.
• The Gas Assistance Fund helps provide a one time grant to customers during the winter who are income qualified and unable to pay their bill.
SoCalGas also offers hundreds of dollars in rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and can provide customers with a free energy and water-saving kit. The kit includes three faucet aerators and a low-flow showerhead to help customers save energy and water. These devices allow air to enter into the water stream, maintaining a high-pressure flow while reducing water usage -- ultimately saving money.
Customers can enroll in the assistance programs by visiting SoCalGas’ Web site, www.socalgas.com/assistance or by calling toll-free at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish. To learn how to conserve energy at home, customers can visit www.socalgas.com/energyefficiency.
Southern California Gas Co. is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. Southern California Gas Co. ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Residential Natural Gas Service in the Western United States,” according to the 2009 study by J.D. Power and Associates*. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.
*About the J.D. Power and Associates study: Southern California Gas Company received the highest numerical score among gas utilities in the Western U.S. in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. Study based on 54,405 total interviews with U.S. residential gas customers measuring 15 utilities in the West (AZ, CA, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY). Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in September 2008-July 2009. Your experiences may vary.
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