San Diego Gas and Electric on Tuesday announced it made $1 million in customer assistance available to help offset the past due bills from customers experiencing financial hardship.
The funds are made available via Neighbor-to-Neighbor, 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).
According to the utility, the program is funded by shareholder dollars and 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 making 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.”
This announcement comes after SDG&E announced it increased its rates for natural gas, which has more than doubled for the month of January increasing from $2.55 per unit of natural gas (therm) in January 2022 to $5.11 per therm in January 2023. The utility cites that more than 90% of the increase in the overall gas rate is driven by the market price for gas.
The program provides up to $300 per household in assistance for qualifying customers, and $400 for qualifying customers enrolled in the Medical Baseline program. Customers who live in the utility’s San Diego and southern Orange Counties qualify to apply for N2N if they do not qualify for LIHEAP funding, according to SDG&E.
Customers interested in this financial assistance are asked to call 2-1-1 San Diego which will direct them to community-based organizations collaborating with SDG&E on the N2N program.