Utility: 200,000 low-income customers could save big on energy bills – but aren't

Wed, 2016-08-24 15:08 -- Compassionate C...

We hear about energy poverty, about low-income families scrimping on food or other essentials to pay their energy bills. Yet a large California utility says about 200,000 of its customers who are income-eligible for substantial reductions in their utility bills aren't take advantage of its energy assistance programs. Ideas on why that may be? Use the Comment form below the story to offer your opinion or suggestions.

Pacific Gas & Electric's (PG&E) California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) program gives income-qualified households deep discounts on their energy bills -- but nearly one in 10 eligible customers are not signed up for the program and are missing out on the opportunity to reduce their utility bills up to 20% or more.

San Francisco-based PG&E, one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the U.S., estimates about 200,000 customers throughout its service area could save on their monthly energy bills by enrolling in CARE. In Sacramento County alone, which has the largest number of eligible customers not enrolled, more than 44,000 households could lower their bills, according to a PG&E press release.

Customers can apply for CARE online or via paper applications that are available through numerous community agencies throughout PG&E’s service area. Applying is easy and only takes about five minutes.

“Our CARE program is an important part of providing affordable service to our customers. We encourage all our customers to learn more about CARE, and the variety of other programs we offer, to help them manage their energy costs and lower their monthly bill,” said PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Laurie Giammona.

CARE is funded through a rate surcharge paid by all utility customers.

Related articles…
Utility assistance programs: A third-party portal can help build a greater community presence
4 ways to improve energy efficiency programs for low-income households


This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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