Past Due Bills Have Grown Significantly Since the Start of the Pandemic
Customers Encouraged to Take Action Now by Exploring Financial-Assistance Programs and Establishing Payment Plans
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic start to subside, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds customers with past-due balances to explore available financial-assistance programs now, before the customer protections put in place during the pandemic end on June 30, 2021. In place since March 2020, these customer protections included suspending service disconnections for customers with unpaid bills.
Customers are encouraged to act now and not wait until protections expire if they are behind on payments. Numerous programs, tools and tips are available. Please call us today at (800) 743-5000 if you have an outstanding balance. Translated support in over 250 additional languages is available at that phone number.
We have been working with customers with past-due balances for more than a year and will continue these efforts months after the protections expire. PG&E will not initiate disconnections immediately after the protections end. Since March 2020, more than 1.6 million payment plans have been created for residential and commercial customers.
“We are creating early awareness around the expiration of the protections and have tools in place to help our customers look to the future. With a goal of ensuring a smooth transition, we’ve incorporated feedback from customers, key stakeholders and community leaders in the development of our transition plan once protections end,” said Marlene Santos, PG&E’s EVP of Customer Care. “Don’t wait until summer. Call us now. We’re here to help.”
The number of residential customers with past-due balances has grown almost 30% from February 2020 to February 2021.
Especially as many customers find themselves with past due amounts for the first time, PG&E will communicate early and clearly that we are here to help. Ongoing communications with customers will focus on the expiration of COVID-19 emergency customer protections, helping customers understand the status of their account, offering helpful resources and enabling customers to stay current through ongoing support and financial assistance programs.
PG&E’s proposed transition plan designed specifically to help customers manage their bills as protections are lifted was submitted to the CPUC last week for review. While awaiting official CPUC approval, PG&E will continue communicating with customers to ensure that they are aware and prepared for the anticipated expiration of the COVID-19 emergency customer protections on June 30. Proactive contact with customers during the pandemic has saved customers more than $5 million just by changing their rate plan.
Here are some actions that we plan to assist customers as the COVID-19 protections end:
- Staggering the restart of the collections and disconnection process with a grace period after the protections end to support customers facing uncertainty.
- The recertification and post-enrollment actions that customers will need to take to qualify for the California Rates for Energy Program (CARE), the Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA) and the Medical Baseline Program will be spread out over the rest of 2021.
- A new online medical practitioner portal for the Medical Baseline program will be launched. To simplify the enrollment and recertification process, the portal will enable qualified medical practitioners to certify a customer’s eligibility for the Medical Baseline program online. The program provides customers an additional monthly allotment of energy at the lowest price on the current rate.
For more updates on our ongoing response to the pandemic and to learn more about financial assistance and support programs, visit pge.com/covid19.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.