Company shareholders provide funds to help customers offset higher bills due to historically high natural gas prices
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced today it will make $1 million in customer assistance available via Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N), a program that provides up to $300 in one-time grants to help offset past due bills for SDG&E customers experiencing financial hardship who aren’t eligible for the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). N2N is entirely funded by shareholder dollars, not ratepayer dollars.
“While SDG&E doesn’t control the natural gas market, we feel it’s very important for us as a company to dedicate shareholder dollars to help our customers who are struggling to absorb significant increases in winter energy bills due to extreme commodity market conditions in the West,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn. “We are committed to make every effort to help our customers prepare and take action to manage their energy use and provide access to programs and services. Additionally, as a company, we want to contribute financially to those in need in the communities we serve.”
N2N provides up to $300 per household in assistance for qualifying customers, and up to $400 for qualifying customers enrolled in the Medical Baseline program.
SDG&E customers who reside in the company’s service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties qualify to apply for N2N if they do not qualify for LIHEAP funding, and if they certify they are experiencing serious illness, temporary unemployment, disability or unusual hardship.
Customers do not have to be low income to qualify for N2N assistance, but in order to receive assistance, they must be at least three months past due on their SDG&E bill and unable to pay.
How to Apply
Customers should call 2-1-1 San Diego or 2-1-1 Orange County, which will direct them to community-based organizations collaborating with SDG&E on the N2N program. SDG&E validates customer eligibility and applies N2N funds as credits to customers’ accounts to offset overdue bills.
Ongoing Customer Communications
SDG&E started alerting customers a few months ago to expect higher energy bills due to rising natural gas prices, which have reached historic levels in recent months in the West. The U.S. Energy Information Administration cited widespread cold temperatures, pipeline constraints affecting gas flow to the West, high energy consumption and low energy storage levels in the Pacific region as reasons why gas prices are substantially higher on the West Coast than the rest of the country. SDG&E does not set the price of natural gas, or mark it up, meaning the company does not profit from rising gas commodity prices.
SDG&E customers are encouraged to visit sdge.com/assistance to see if they are eligible for other programs and services including debt forgiveness, monthly discounts and payment arrangements. Tips on how to conserve energy during colder winter months are available at sdge.com/myenergy. Customers who wish to have more predictable bills – even out high-bill months with low-bill months – are encouraged sign up for Level Pay.