Utility Watchdog in San Diego

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Many utility customers in the SDG&E territory are on a fixed income or simply don't earn enough to cover the monthly increases and fluctuations in their bills. If anyone is in this category, there are several agencies that can be contacted for help. Applicants must have an SDG&E gas and/or electric account in their name or must living at a residence served by SDG&E. This would be the name shown on the energy bill, social security card, proof of income, etc. If a husband and wife are living together in the same household, the bill may be in either name without affecting eligibility. The following relief funds are only applicable to current outstanding balances and cannot be applied to deposits, but can be applied to reconnection charges and other fees included in the monthly bill.

In general, the following income guidelines apply to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), though as noted below, these guidelines may be waived given certain circumstances.

                       2013 Income Guidelines

Household Size Monthly Income Annual Income
1 $2,025.33 $23,304.00
2 $2,648.50 $31,782.00
3 $3,271.66 $39,260.00
4 $3,894.86 $46,738.00
5 $4,518.00 $54,216.00
6 $5,151.16 $61,694.00
7 $5,258.00 $63,096.00
8 $5,374.83 $64,498.00
9 $5,491.75 $65,901.00
10 $5,608.58 $67,303.00


These funds are also available for residents of apartment buildings and mobile home parks, but such residents will need to know the master meter account number from the property manager. The customer must also contact their manager to ensure they receive the amount credited to the master meter account.

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides non-emergency financial installment assistance one time annually only to qualifying low-income consumers. This takes 10 to 12 weeks to process and applications are made to an agency according to zip code. This program is administered either through Campesino Unidos, Inc. (CUI) or through Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC) Program, depending on the zip code of the customer.

In general, CUI (Campesinos Unidos, Inc.) is for people who live in North County, Imperial Valley, Orange County and San Diego. The Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC) is intended for South Bay and East County residents, including El Cajon and Santee. To sign up for HEAP at MAAC, the agency must be called usually early Monday morning. CUI has more funding and you call them anytime. Funds are limited. Certain low-income guidelines must be met and the recipient cannot have used HEAP within the last year (though this can be waived). This program assists with the current outstanding utility bill balance and in turn, the recipient must attend a class on how to conserve energy. The agencies listed below administer HEAP funds by zip code. If you want to make sure you're calling the right agency, call the Dept. of Community Services and Development at 211 (the new social service hotline for referral).


800-371-1380 or 3771




If you do not meet the low-income guidelines for HEAP or do not have a valid Social Security number, but have a temporary hardship such as the ones below, you're a good candidate for the Neighbor to Neighbor program. This is an SDG&E program but the best way to contact would be to dial 211 and ask for assistance and they will help direct you to either HEAP or Neighbor to Neighbor whichever is more applicable.

There are some mitigating circumstances that might make you eligible for Neighbor to Neighbor funds if you are above the HEAP income guidelines. For example, you might be facing:

    --Serious illness of a life threatening nature
    --Person with emphysema, arthritis or other chronic condition, where use of air conditioning is a factor

    Temporary Unemployment
    --Verification from employer or Employment Development Department
    --Disabled or over age 60
    --Person with income above HEAP limits, yet very limited income and no alternative sources of funds

These and other circumstances might qualify you for the Neighbor to Neighbor program, but not the HEAP program, so make sure you explore both.

About UCAN

UCAN has represented the interests of San Diego County utility customers since 1983. UCAN focuses its efforts on the rates and services of San Diego Gas and Electric Company, telecommunications utilities and the City of San Diego Water Department.