San Diego Gas & Electric announced that $10 million in federal funds is available to help ratepayers past due on their bill payments.
Under the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), about $10 million is available to SDG&E Customers. About $7 million of that amount was allocated for 2021-2022 and is expected to expire by June 30. 2023.
In an effort to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress appropriated an additional $203 million in LIHEAP funding for California under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 to address the continued impact of COVID-19. The funding is administered by the California Department of Community Services and Development, which contracts with community-based organizations to manage the application process.
Legal residents of the United States who meet the income guidelines and are responsible for energy costs in a residence may be eligible for LIHEAP. According to SDG&E, applicants must provide a social security number and may only receive aid once a year from LIHEAP.
According to the utility, Individuals and families who qualify for LIHEAP can receive assistance ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on their income, household size, and past-due balance. SDG&E said it has worked with two local non-profit organizations to help process $5.5 million in LIHEAP payments to offset the overdue balances of about 7,200 customers.
The utility will be hosting program specialists from a local nonprofit organization called Campesinos Unidos, Inc. (CUI) at its Escondido branch office located at 644 West Ave. in the coming weeks to guide customers through the LIHEAP application process. CUI’s office in the City of San Diego, located at 885 Gateway Center Way, Ste 103, also processes applications by appointment, 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
MAAC, another local nonprofit organization, will also help residents in San Diego County with LIHEAP applications. According to the utility, interested residents can also call 211 San Diego for more information about LIHEAP and other utility assistance programs that they may be eligible for, including Neighbor-to-Neighbor, California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE), and Family Electric Rates Assistance (FERA).
The utility encouraged ratepayers to take advantage of other assistance programs, including bill discounts, debt relief, payment plans, Level Pay to minimize bill spikes, and energy efficiency upgrades that can help lower bills long term. To learn more at sdge.com/assistance.