To help low-income households pay their energy bills in the next few months, Peninsula Clean Energy will be providing a free $100 credit to about 30,000 customer households on their monthly PG&E bill in April.
If the bill is less than $100, the credit will roll over toward future monthly payments.
The typical low-income household spends roughly $35 a month on electricity through Peninsula Clean Energy, so the idea is to provide roughly three months of electricity support to help households through the coronavirus pandemic and its economic repercussions, according to Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy. Peninsula Clean Energy provides, as a default to San Mateo County utility customers, cleaner and lower-cost electricity than PG&E.
"We thought this would be a good way to help our most needy customers," said Pepper.
The plan is intended to help low-income households in the county pay their bills during a time of shuttered workplaces and heightened anxiety and was approved unanimously by the Peninsula Clean Energy Board of Directors. The roughly $3 million effort is funded by Peninsula Clean Energy's profits, Pepper said.
"In these unprecedented times, this credit will help those most at risk of losing their paychecks and financial stability, particularly our most vulnerable low-wage earners," East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Carlos Romero said.
Currently, the program will be extended only to households that were already enrolled in these programs as of March 20, but the Peninsula Clean Energy board is open to further discussions if there is new need indicated as households enter low-income categories due to job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The $100 credit will apply automatically to all households that are enrolled in PG&E's CARE and FERA programs. Both offer monthly rate discounts: The CARE program provides customers a 20% monthly discount on electricity and gas, while the FERA program is for households of three or more and offers an 18% monthly discount on electricity only.
PG&E administers the CARE and FERA programs, but people who qualify through PG&E also receive the same discounts through Peninsula Clean Energy. To qualify for the CARE program, a household of three people may earn no more than $42,660, and to qualify for the FERA program, a household of three must earn between $42,661 and $53,325.
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