More SDG&E customers eligible for bill-assistance programs

Increased income guidelines expand eligibility

Jun 1, 2010

Media Contact:
April Sharp

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066



        SAN DIEGO, June 1, 2010 – More customers may be eligible to receive a 20 percent discount on their San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) bills, due to a boost in the income guidelines for the money-saving, state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.  While many residents already participate, more than 80,000 residents in the SDG&E service area could be eligible for the discount, but have not yet enrolled in the program.

        Customers may qualify one of two ways: through their enrollment in certain public assistance programs, or based on their household’s income.  For customers who are recently unemployed, household income is calculated from the date of unemployment.  All other provisions on determining income still apply.  For example, a family of four with a yearly household income of $44,400 or less may qualify. 

        “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 SDG&E.  “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.”

        More than 270,000 customers throughout SDG&E’s service area are currently enrolled in the CARE program and benefit from the discount.

        Customers can qualify for the CARE Program one of two ways:

        • 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, 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

According to the utility, 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
        • Through the CARE application included in their July SDG&E bill; or 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, such as no-cost weatherization 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:

        • 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 large households of three or more persons;
        • Energy Team: Will make your family more comfortable and secure by sealing  your place from the heat and cold and upgrading old inefficient appliances;
        • 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 equally 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.