People who need assistance paying their natural gas bills may receive help through Southern California Gas Co.’s (The Gas Company) Gas Assistance Fund program, which provides for a one-time grant amount of up to $150 on a customer’s winter bill. The program is open to qualified customers who face financial hardships.
“Because of the wet and colder-than-normal weather over the past several months, many of our customers have been turning up their heaters to stay warm and the result will be higher natural gas bills,” said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for The Gas Company. “For those having trouble paying their gas bill, the Gas Assistance Fund may help.”
The program is funded by voluntary contributions from the utility and its customers.
To seek assistance any time before the end of April, eligible customers can go to The Gas Company Web site at www.socalgas.com, and search under residential assistance programs to find the nearest participating United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ approximately 120 community agencies located throughout central and Southern California. These participating local organizations distribute the Gas Assistance Fund contributions of up to $150 to eligible income-qualified customers.
The one-time bill payment assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis now through the end of April, or until funds are depleted.
So far this year, more than $185,000 in individual customer contributions has been collected for the fund, and company is providing up to $250,000 in matching dollars.
Last year, nearly 5,000 customers were helped. Since the fund was established in 1982, more than $10 million has been disbursed to families in need.Mueller encouraged customers who may have difficulty paying their gas bills to contact The Gas Company to work out special payment arrangements or to receive information on the Level Pay Plan. Customer-assistance programs such as a 20-percent discounted rate to income-qualified customers with the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program are also available.