In response to residents staying home more for school and work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) shares ways for customers to reduce energy usage by 15 to 20 percent. This amount is proportional to the recent increase in California customers’ residential electric usage due to sheltering at home, compared to the same period last year, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
“The ongoing impacts from the pandemic may continue to change, but our unwavering commitment to our customers during this uncertain time will not. We are here to ensure customers know they are not alone, and PG&E offers various resources to help those financially impacted by COVID-19,” said Laurie Giammona, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for PG&E.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) received an additional $900 million in funding nationally, with $49 million in additional dollars allocated to California.
The federally funded program helps low-income households with their energy bills. LIHEAP is overseen by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) and administered by nonprofit agencies that can help financially impacted residents in providing assistance toward their energy bill. Eligibility for the program is determined by income, household size, place of residence, and other factors. PG&E is not responsible for administering this program. To find the local LIHEAP agency in your area to apply, visit csd.ca.gov/energybills.
To take advantage of additional programs, tools and savings opportunities, PG&E recommends customers become more familiar with the following:
• Customers can apply for CARE online at pge.com/CARE. Applying is easy and only takes about five minutes. Qualifying customers will begin receiving the CARE program discount within their next billing cycle. Qualified households can save 20 percent or more each month on their energy bill.
• Separate from CARE, income-qualified households with three or more persons can apply for the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program 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. Customers impacted by COVID-19 will be provided with up to an additional $100 in bill payment assistance through March 4, 2021.
• Customers on the Medical Baseline program will not be asked to re-certify through a doctor or other eligible medical professionals for up to one year. Residential customers who have special energy needs due to certain qualifying medical conditions can receive a lower rate on monthly energy bills.
• Budget Billing averages customers’ monthly energy costs to help monthly payment amounts remain more consistent, even if energy use changes significantly from season to season.
Visit pge.com/covid19 to read more about PG&E’s response to the virus.