San Diego area residents are feeling the financial burden of unprecedented natural gas prices this winter, leaving some struggling to pay their monthly utility bills. Fortunately, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available to help customers who are past due on their bills. This federally funded program provides substantial grants ranging from a few hundred to over $1,000, depending on a household’s income, size, and past-due balance. LIHEAP grants are available to renters and homeowners and do not require repayment.
San Diego Community Power and Clean Energy Alliance Customers Eligible for LIHEAP Grants
LIHEAP is overseen by the California Department of Community Services and Development, and the funds are managed on the local level by Campesinos Unidos and the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee, both non-profit organizations. Legal residents of the United States who are responsible for the energy costs of a residence are eligible, provided they are past due on their utility bills and meet the program’s income guidelines. San Diego Gas & Electric customers who qualify, as well as customers of the region’s two community choice energy programs, San Diego Community Power and the Clean Energy Alliance, are eligible for LIHEAP.
The federal government has allocated $10 million to help customers in the SDG&E service territory between 2021 and 2023. However, approximately $7 million of this amount is expected to expire by June 30th, so potential recipients are urged to file their applications sooner rather than later. The guidelines for eligibility are adjusted according to the number of members in a household, with a family of four having an annual income limit of $62,313 and a household of one having a yearly income limit of $32,402.04.
How to Apply
To apply for LIHEAP funding, Campesinos Unidos is working with San Diego Gas & Electric on three upcoming events where customers can attend and fill out applications.
Time: 8 a.m. to noon
Office of Campesinos Unidos, Inc.
Address: 885 Gateway Center Way space 103 San Diego, CA 92102
Spanish assistance will be available. Street parking only; no parking inside a lot. Masks required.
There will also be events at a pair of SDG&E branch offices:
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SDG&E’s Escondido Branch Office
Address: 644 W Mission Ave Escondido, CA 92025
Tuesday, Feb. 28
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SDG&E’s Market Creek Branch Office
Address: 336 Euclid Ave #502San Diego, CA 92114
Spanish assistance will be provided at both locations and on-site parking will be available.
To fill out an application, applicants must provide their ID and a hard copy of their Social Security card, proof of income for all household members 18 and older for the last 30 days (such as pay stubs or award letters), and proof of any assistance (e.g., food stamps, cash aid, WIC) if applicable. Household members without income must be present to sign an affidavit.
Don’t Fall Behind on Utility Bills: LIHEAP Funding Available for California Residents
Customers who cannot attend the events can call 211 San Diego to schedule appointments with Campesinos Unidos or the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee to file applications. Additionally, calling 211 San Diego can provide information on other assistance programs to help pay utility bills, such as the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and the Family Electric Rates Assistance (FERA) programs that offer reductions in monthly bills for qualifying customers. SDG&E’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund can also offset up to $300 in outstanding bills to eligible customers and is funded by SDG&E shareholders, not ratepayer dollars.
The recent commodity price increase of natural gas in California has affected SDG&E customers. The company warned that typical residential gas customers should expect their January bills to increase from $105 to about $225, a 114% increase compared to January 2022. However, SDG&E recently posted a big drop in the
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