LOS ANGELES, Nov 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is inviting customers and employees to contribute to the company's Gas Assistance Fund, a bill-assistance program that helps income-qualified customers and those facing financial hardships with a one-time grant of up to $100 per customer. "The Gas Assistance Fund helps customers who need assistance stay warm in winter and stretch their budget toward other important necessities," said Gillian Wright, director of customer programs for SoCalGas. "SoCalGas thanks the caring customers and employees whose generous donations have helped improve the quality of life for friends and neighbors in our communities over the past 30 years." Administered by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Gas Assistance Fund has helped more than 200,000 SoCalGas customers pay their natural gas utility bills in times of need. Since the program's inception in 1983, SoCalGas customers, employees, and shareholders have contributed more than $18 million, with the funds then distributed annually. Customers interested in making a donation may mail their voluntary tax-deductible contributions to: United Way, Gas Assistance Fund, File 56826, Los Angeles, CA 90074-6826, or donate online at www.unitedwayla.org. SoCalGas recognizes that its customers may face hardships and encourages those who may be having difficulty paying their natural gas bills to contact SoCalGas to work out special payment arrangements or to find out if they qualify for other bill-assistance programs. SoCalGas collects donations to the Gas Assistance Fund throughout the year and will begin distributing funds between February and the end of May 2013 or until the funds are depleted. Customers can visit socalgas.com (search "GAF") to learn if they qualify for a grant. Additionally, SoCalGas and United Way of Greater Los Angeles work with 80 to 100 volunteer nonprofit, community-based organizations throughout our service territory to help income-qualified customers obtain a grant to pay their natural gas utility bill. In addition to the Gas Assistance Fund, SoCalGas offers other customer assistance programs and services that can help them manage home energy costs during the winter months. More information is available at socalgas.com, or toll-free at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish. About Southern California Gas Co. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110110/MM27708LOGO) SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.