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Energy for Life wellness programs

Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) believes employees are its best assets. In 1990 the company implemented its comprehensive wellness program, which was highly promoted by senior management. Since then, Sempra Energy and its Energy for Life wellness program have been committed to promoting safe and healthy lifestyles for employees and their families.

Energy for Life emphasizes the importance of giving employees informational tools and empowering them to make educated and smart decisions about their health. Each year, the program chooses a theme that is both inspiring and empowering for employees. An interactive, educational Web site for employees contains information about all services and programs, and links to educational sites for health, fitness and wellness.

The Wellness Programs department includes the Employee Assistance Program, which offers professional counseling and mental health services, enabling employees and their household members to access professional assistance for the challenges of everyday life. Services offered include professional counseling, financial and legal, child and elder care, and grief and crisis management support. In addition, the department offers a variety of seminars and training presentations, i.e., stress management, work/life balance and dealing with personal problems at work, among others.

Each month the company hosts a "Lunch and Learn" at its larger locations, which features a topic based around one of the National Health Observances, such as nutrition, fitness, disease prevention, cardiovascular, diabetes, skin cancer, men and women's health and stress management. Employees bring their lunches and receive educational information on the topic of the month from various engaging speakers. In addition to Lunch and Learn presentations, the Wellness Programs department teams with the Community Relations department to sponsor and promote other related awareness activities offered in the community, i.e., the Susan G. Komen walks, and Making Strides for Breast Cancer.

Sempra also sponsors other special events, such as the annual Health Fair and Fitness Open House. At each of these, the company hosts several service providers, giving employees the ability to learn about participating vendors' services and programs. Sempra sponsors an annual flu shot program, offering free flu shots to employees at approximately 95 company locations. This program allows approximately 6,000 an opportunity to protect themselves against the seasonal flu. Each November the firm features the American Cancer Society's (ACS) "Great American Smoke Out Challenge." The campaign is promoted through the company Web site, encouraging employees to take the ACS's online "Smoke Out Challenge" in addition to bringing in representatives from the ACS, medical providers and EAP providers to offer educational information on smoking cessation programs.

Health Fairs include free biometric screenings, i.e., blood pressure, BMI, body fat, glucose/cholesterol, osteoporosis and "Dermaview." In addition, throughout the year, Sempra offers low-cost, employee-paid, non-invasive ultrasound cancer, stroke and heart disease screenings. Employees with abnormal findings are encouraged to follow up with their medical provider. The company receives aggregate data, which is used by the wellness department to determine what programs they should focus on and emphasize.

The firm's Fitness Subsidy program is one of the most popular and widely utilized programs. Sempra Energy will offset the costs of health memberships to encourage employees to actively participate in promoting a healthy lifestyle. The Energy for Life Fitness Subsidy Program includes a subsidy for employees to participate in a facility that offers fitness activities, which includes a combination of weight equipment, aerobic classes and trained instructors. Employees receive a one-time reimbursement of up to $150 toward their initiation fee, and thereafter a monthly subsidy of one-half of their monthly dues, up to a maximum of $20.

Energy for Life provides employees with other onsite services such as yoga, chair massages, reflexology, Weight Watchers and walking programs. Periodically, the company includes opportunities to win incentive prizes to encourage participation, such as pedometers and T-shirts for participation in walking programs, or raffle prizes at special Lunch and Learn events. Employees receive a quarterly "Healthy Life" newsletter and an annual "Wellness" calendar, which includes health and safety tips and information.

Sempra Energy also offers an emergency backup childcare program, administered by the Energy for Life department. This program provides peace of mind for employees and helps reduce absenteeism, by providing a secure backup childcare program in a warm, friendly and educational environment for employee's children (ages 3 months to 12 years) when their normal childcare arrangements break down, or during school breaks, holidays, vacation. Employees currently have four center options to choose from in Southern California.

Lastly, through the interactive Web site, Sempra offers a Wellness Online Lending Library program. Through this program, employees may borrow up to two books and two media (i.e., videos, DVD or cassette tapes) on a variety of health, wellness and safety topics.

Sempra Energy, with 13,600 employees worldwide, is a Fortune 500 energy services company based in San Diego. Its California utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co., serve more than 20 million consumers.

Submitted by Sempra Energy.

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