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Home Battery Systems Effort Aids Low-Income Customers

Working cooperatively, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Enphase Energy are launching a home battery energy storage program to support vulnerable, low-income customers during power outages.

Through the Residential Storage Initiative, PG&E is providing battery systems at no cost to approximately 100 residential customers who have been frequently impacted by outages as a result of PG&E’s Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS).

These enhanced safety settings protect millions of Californians who live in high fire-risk areas within PG&E’s service area. To help prevent wildfire ignitions, the safety settings turn off power within one-tenth of a second when a fault, such as a tree limb contacting a powerline, is detected.

PG&E’s use of these enhanced safety settings in high fire-risk and select adjacent areas in 2022 has led to a 65 percent reduction in ignitions in those areas.

PG&E is taking actions to reduce the burden of these safety-related outages on customers and communities, including partnering with Enphase to develop the Residential Storage Initiative.

“We know power outages can be hard on our customers and even more challenging for vulnerable populations. We expect this initiative in collaboration with Enphase will help build resilience, enhance reliability, and make life a little easier for our customers when the power is turned off for safety,” said Aaron August, Vice President, Utility Partnerships & Innovation, PG&E.

While battery availability is limited to the first 100 enrollments on a first-come, first-served basis during the launch phase of the initiative, PG&E and Enphase anticipate expanding installations to several hundred new systems in 2023.

“PG&E is taking bold action with this home battery initiative to provide its customers with innovative resiliency options in communities that need it most. The Enphase IQ Battery offers customers reliable home energy technology, and we look forward to our continued partnership with PG&E to provide additional support for enhanced grid security solutions,” said Dave Ranhoff, Chief Commercial Officer at Enphase Energy.

Since October, working with Enphase as the battery provider and Richard Heath & Associates Inc. (RHA) as the contracted installer, PG&E has reached out to approximately 1,000 pre-qualified customers. The companies have completed approximately 100 site assessments and installed approximately 20 new home battery systems.