San Diego Gas & Electric
SAN DIEGO, Jan. 6, 2010 – As post-holiday bills arrive in mailboxes this month, some families will be faced with tough financial decisions, struggling to make payments in a difficult economy. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) urges customers to take advantage of the utility’s assistance programs – programs that can help reduce winter heating bills and increase energy efficiency.
“We are trying to help our customers in need, including those who are unemployed and those having difficulty paying their bills,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E.
Customers are encouraged to call SDG&E before their account is overdue and learn about the available assistance programs. An SDG&E representative will work with customers to set up a payment plan that meets their needs.
SDG&E offers a wide range of assistance programs for qualifying customers on a limited income or with special medical needs.
• The California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE) program provides a 20-percent rate discount on the monthly natural gas bill. Customers may be eligible automatically if they currently receive benefits from the Women, Infants and Children, Healthy Families, Medi-Cal/Medicaid, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or LIHEAP programs.
• The Energy Team provides free 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 special medical needs, requiring additional heating or air conditioning to sustain their health, may qualify for additional natural gas or electricity 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 Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund provides a one-time grant of up to $200 on a customer’s bill. The program is open to qualified customers who are experiencing temporary financial hardship and are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Customers eligible for government assistance must apply for energy assistance under those programs before being considered for the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. These funds are available now and customers can call 2-1-1 to find participating agencies. Funded by donations from customers and employees of SDG&E, as well as shareholders of Sempra Energy, SDG&E’s parent company.
SDG&E 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 or request payment arrangements by visiting SDG&E’s Web site, www.sdge.com, or calling SDG&E toll-free at (800) 411-7343 or (800) 311-7343 in Spanish.
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. Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.