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Low-income SDG&E customers can save through bill-assistance program

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Low-income SDG&E customers can save through bill-assistance program

New CARE income guidelines expand eligibility

Jun 2, 2008

Media Contact:
Rachel Laing
San Diego Gas & Electric
(877) 866-2066
www.sdge.com

SAN DIEGO, June 2, 2008 – More low-income customers now are eligible to receive a 20-percent discount on their San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) electric and natural gas bills due to new income guidelines that went into effect yesterday for qualified customers enrolled in the money-saving, state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.

“SDG&E is actively partnering with community groups throughout San Diego to enroll qualified customers in our assistance programs,” said Hal Snyder, SDG&E’s vice president of customer service.  "We hope to leave ‘no stone unturned’ when reaching out to the more than 100,000 customers financially eligible for the CARE program.

Last year, SDG&E CARE customers saved, on average, $200 annually under the program.  About 225,000 customers throughout SDG&E’s service area already have enrolled in the CARE program.

All nonparticipating residential customers will find a CARE application included in their July bill mailer.  Customers also can call a toll-free, multilingual assistance line at (800) 411-SDGE (7343) to request an application form, apply online in English or Spanish at www.sdge.com, or download a CARE application in English, Spanish or Vietnamese and fax or mail it to SDG&E.

“We are encouraging everyone who comes through our door to find out if they qualify for the program and helping them sign up for this discount,” said Marlene Castro, social services manager for public-assistance organization Campesinos Unidos.  “We are pleased to partner with SDG&E in their outreach on programs that help our clients manage their living costs.”

Customers may be eligible if they currently receive benefits from the Women, Infants and Children, Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, Food Stamps, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs.

Every year, the California Public Utilities Commission adjusts the maximum qualifying income levels to reflect changes in the federal poverty guidelines.  These higher income levels mean that more customers can now qualify.  As of June 1, the new CARE income guidelines, based on pre-tax annual income, are as follows:

Number of People

Per Household

Previous Income Guidelines

New Income Guidelines
(Effective June 1, 2008)

1 or 2

$29,300

$30,500

3

$34,400

$35,800

4

$41,500

$43,200

5

$48,600

$50,600

Add $7,400 for each additional household member

Besides CARE, SDG&E offers a variety of other financial assistance, appliance and home-improvement rebates, energy audits and energy-efficiency programs to assist its low-income, disabled and senior-citizen customers.

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

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 800,000 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 regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.

 
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