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SAN DIEGO – Struggling SDG&E customers who are behind on their bills due to the rising costs can now get help with a $1 million customer assistance program, the utility announced Tuesday.

The assistance program, called Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N), can provide up to $300 in one-time grants to help offset past due bills for struggling customers who are not eligible for the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), SDG&E said.

N2N can give eligible customers $300 per household and up to $400 for qualifying customers enrolled in the Medical Baseline program. SDG&E customers who live in the company’s service area in San Diego and southern Orange counties qualify for N2N if they are not eligible for LIHEAP.

Everyone who applies does not have to be considered low-income, but they must be at least three months past due on their bill and unable to pay. People must also certify if they are experiencing serious illness, temporary illness, temporary unemployment disability, or unusual hardship, SDG&E said.

All this money is coming from shareholder dollars, not ratepayer dollars, SDG&E emphasized.

“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 make 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.” 

In order to apply, customers can click here.

People can also call 211 San Diego or 211 Orange County which will direct people to community-based organizations collaborating with SDG&E on the N2N program. SDG&E validates customer eligibility and applies N2N funds as credits to customer accounts to offset overdue bills.