For people who are struggling in the weak economy, customers are strongly encouraged to contact Southern California Gas before they fall behind on their utility bills. Be pro-active and ask for assistance early. A representative from the Gas Company will work closely with all customers to go over their options, and to set up a payment plan if needed that will help them through short term struggles.
There are several different programs and options available for customers. Some of the assistance programs that are available for qualifying customers who have a limited income, or some other hardship, include those noted below.
The Gas Assistance Fund - This is a grant program. The Gas Company will provide a one-time cash grant directly to customers during the cold winter heating season. Of course the customer needs to apply and be found to be eligible, and they can’t otherwise be able to pay their bills. This utility bill assistance program, which is available until funds are depleted, is managed by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. The program is funded by donations from both customers and employees of The Gas Company, and matching contributions and additional funding from Southern California Gas. More details.
The California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE) program - Is a discount saving program that will reduce customer gas and utility bills. It provides a 20-percent discount on the monthly natural gas bill for qualified customers. Customers who apply may be found to be eligible automatically if they currently receive benefits from Medi-Cal/Medicaid, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Healthy Families, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, LIHEAP, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
The Direct Assistance Program (DAP) - Energy-saving home improvements are available to income-qualified homeowners and renters. Free services offered to these people include: additional ceiling insulation to keep the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter; door weather-stripping and caulking to keep out drafts; low-flow shower heads that can help people save energy used to heat water; furnace and hot water tank replacement (owner-occupied homes only), and other minor home repairs and improvements.
Medical Baseline Allowance program - This is for people who require additional heating and utility bill assistance for health reasons. They may be able to qualify for additional natural gas services and programs at the lowest available rate through the Medical Baseline Allowance program. There are no income requirements to be eligible for the Medical Baseline program; however, doctor certification and notices are required in order to receive aid.
Rebates for appliances - Southern California Gas has rebates available for all customers, regardless of income. The Gas Company offers hundreds of dollars in rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances, upgrades, and other home improvements. The company can provide customers with a free energy- and water-saving kit. The free kit includes three faucet aerators as well as a low-flow shower head to help customers save on both their energy and water bills. These energy efficient and saving devices will allow air to enter into the water stream, so they still will maintain a high-pressure flow for someone’s home while also allowing for a reduction in water usage.
To learn more about these, or other assistance programs from Southern California Gas, call them at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish.