By Miriam Raftery
April 27, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers programs that can provide discounts to low income individuals on certain assistance programs, as well as to people with medical equipment under a doctor’s care. There are also no-cost energy efficient upgrades available to qualifying individuals.
I visited the company’s site to research discount options after receiving the following letter from Tom Lemon, an East County resident, who wrote:
For the past month I tried to use as little electricity as possible. No lights on overnight, I used a flashlight when I woke up at night to go to the kitchen or bathroom. I used to leave my porch light on for security, that was off too. My current bill is $182.11. I can afford it but what are people who live on the edge to do? One late bill and they have no utilities and may end up living with friends or family or homeless.
My son's house is on a well so when he brushes his teeth a pump starts.
Below are links and details to three programs SDG&E offers to help qualifying households reduce their energy bills. Of note, Lemon says he's used these but still has a bill he considers too high. An ECM writer, however, has indicated she qualified for the CARE program and her most recent bill at her apartment was just 33 cents.
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) - Offers a 30% or more monthly bill discount. Qualification is based on participation in certain public assistance programs or by income guidelines.
Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) - If you're not eligible for CARE, you may qualify for an 18% monthly bill discount through FERA. FERA is only open to households with three or more people. Qualification is based on income guidelines.
Medical Baseline Allowance - This program is available to people with a qualifying medical condition or who use qualifying medical equipment at home. The application must be certified by a doctor.
No-Cost Home Energy Upgrades - Eligibility for the no-cost energy efficient home improvement program is based on income and household size or by your household participation in certain public assistance programs. Homeowners and renters may apply.