Total number of customers helped by the Neighbor-to-Neighbor assistance program doubles in the last two years
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 2012 – A record number of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers in need of assistance to pay their energy bills were helped in 2011 through SDG&E’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund.
The number of customers who participated in SDG&E’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund more than doubled in 2011 over the previous two years, with customers receiving an average of nearly $200 in bill assistance. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund provides customers experiencing temporary financial hardship who are not eligible for state or federal assistance with up to $200 towards their SDG&E bill once per year, or up to $400 for customers on life support.
“The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund helps our customers who are facing hardships to stretch their budget for other necessities during a time of need,” said Ted Reguly, SDG&E’s director of customer programs and assistance. “This program is important to help keep our customers warm, especially during the winter months.”
Through funding from its shareholders, SDG&E contributes $4 for every $1 a customer or employee donates to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program – up to $200,000. The program, which has been in place for more than 25 years, has helped thousands of needy San Diegans pay their energy bills. Some typical circumstances that could qualify a family for assistance through Neighbor-to-Neighbor include: serious illness, chronic conditions, temporary unemployment, disability, or unusual hardship.
The one-time bill-payment assistance is available to eligible customers on a first-come, first-served basis or until funds are depleted. Customers may call 211 to locate a participating community agency throughout San Diego, which will work with SDG&E and the United Way on approval and processing of the account credit.
SDG&E customers who want to contribute to this fund may mail their voluntary tax-deductible contributions to: United Way of San Diego County, Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund, P.O. Box 501722, San Diego, CA 92150-1722.
In addition to Neighbor-to-Neighbor, SDG&E offers a variety of customer assistance programs, including California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA), Medical Baseline Program, and the Energy Savings Assistance Program.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.6 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 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 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.