From Offering Easy-to-Follow Tips to Providing Information on Available Financial-Assistance Programs, PG&E is Here to Help
Today, Tuesday, Dec. 21, marks the start of the winter season. It’s the winter solstice, the day with the fewest sunlight hours of the year, which makes it the shortest day of the year. To get ready for the colder temperatures and the longer nights that can add up to higher energy bills, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) offers ways to help customers conserve energy.
Any increase in our customers’ energy bills can be challenging, particularly during the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of natural gas. Natural gas prices for this winter (November 2021 through March 2022) are currently more than double the prices seen last winter. PG&E passes through the cost of its energy purchases directly to our customers and does not earn a profit from these purchases.
“We recognize the impact all of these factors have on our customers which is why we are always here to help with practical ways to manage cold weather energy costs. The first day of winter is a good reminder that simple behavior changes, energy efficiency and weatherization can help save energy and money,” said Aaron August, PG&E’s Vice President of Business Development & Customer Engagement.
Ways to Save Energy this Winter
Try these ideas to help you stay warm and reduce energy costs this winter:
- Lower your thermostat when away: Save about 1 percent on heating costs per each degree lowered over an eight-hour time frame.
- Control water temperature: Set water heater thermostat at 120 degrees or lower. Save about 10 percent in water heating costs for every ten degrees lowered.
- Microwave and save: Reheating leftovers in a microwave can take less time and uses up to 80 percent less energy than a standard oven.
- Upgrade Lighting: LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
Get Help with Past Due Bills
Customers struggling to pay their bills can learn more about the following programs:
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers up to $1,000 to pay eligible household energy costs.
- Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) Program offers one-time financial assistance to qualified customers with past-due bills.
- Arrearage Management Plan (AMP) offers up to $8,000 in unpaid balance forgiveness to qualifying customers who owe at least $500 or more on their gas and electric bill or at least $250 or more on their gas only bill and are more than 90 days past due.
- California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Act helps income-eligible households pay rent and utilities, both for past due and future payments. Renters and landlords are eligible to apply.
PG&E automatically began enrolling all residential and small business customers with past due balances over 60 days in new extended payment arrangements in September. Customers will be automatically enrolled on an ongoing basis based on eligibility through September 2022. To date more than 810,000 customers are enrolled in the program helping customers reduce unpaid balances over time and protects those enrolled from disconnection once the process restarts next year.
Ways to Reduce Future Energy Bills
Customers may also qualify for several programs at once and can start applying or enrolling now.
- California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) saves 20% or more each month on energy bills for income-qualified customers.
- Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program (FERA) offers a monthly discount on electric bills for income-qualified customers with three or more people in the household.
- Medical Baseline provides a lower monthly rate for customers with special energy needs due to certain medical conditions.
- Budget Billing averages out energy costs for more manageable monthly payments and eliminates big spikes in bills due to seasonal changes.
For more information please don’t hesitate to call (800) 743-5000 or log onto 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.