In response to the ongoing economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said recently it will extend the existing COVID 19 customer protections through June 30. The protections were set to expire on April 16.
This comes after a vote by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) earlier this week.
“For nearly a year now, we have supported our customers through unimaginable health and economic circumstances. We believe extending these customer protections like stopping service disconnections for non-payment through June ensures our customers, especially the most vulnerable, have access to safe and reliable power during this challenging time,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E’s Chief Customer Officer and a Senior Vice President. “We are here to help so please reach out if you need support.”
Customer Protections through June 30, 2021:
Moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment for residential and small business customers;
Post-enrollment verification and re-enrollment requirements have been paused for the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program (FERA);
Security deposits are being waived for small commercial customers (residential customers are not required to submit security deposits);
Customers on the Medical Baseline program offering customers with qualifying medical conditions a lower monthly rate on energy bills are not being asked to re-certify through a doctor or other eligible medical professionals for up to one year.
Additional Billing and Service Modifications
PG&E understands many of its customers are facing economic challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. PG&E is here to help with:
Flexible payment plans for customers to schedule payment over several months to help address temporary financial strains.
Budget Billing to help avoid or manage unanticipated high bills.
Customer online support through their PG&E online account to monitor energy use and check or compare rate plans.
Financial Assistance for Residential Customers
To take advantage of tools and savings opportunities, PG&E recommends customers become more familiar with the following:
Separate from CARE, income-qualified households with three or more persons can apply for the FERA at pge.com/fera for an 18 percent discount on their electric bill.
Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) provides income-qualified customers with financial assistance during times of hardship. The program is funded through tax-deductible contributions from PG&E customers and employees. To help those in need of energy assistance, donate now.
The federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance to help offset eligible household energy costs, including heating, cooling and home weatherization expenses. To learn more, dial 2-1-1 or 1-866-675-6623 for LIHEAP income guidelines and a list of participating agencies.
As some of the financial protections expire in the coming months PG&E continues to help customers manage their bills and enroll in eligible financial assistance programs. PG&E began proactively calling customers last year to ensure they were aware of resources to support their specific needs.
To date, PG&E’s Customer Advocacy Success Team has connected with more than 42,000 customers, enrolling 51 percent of them in financial assistance programs and identifying more than $5 million in savings for customers by changing their rate. In all, PG&E has proactively reached out to more than 200,000 customers to help them manage their bills.
For customers interested in learning more about the financial assistance and bill payment options visit pge.com/billhelp.