This is a trying time for all – and we’re working hard to ensure safe and reliable electricity and natural gas continues to flow to homes, businesses and our governmental stakeholders. Know that safety and reliability is job one – and our 24/7 team is focused on that each and every day. Just a couple updates.
- Customer Assistance Programs. The financial health of many of our families, friends and neighbors has changed dramatically in the last month or two. Because of that, we have done our best to amplify the awareness of SDG&E’s Customer Assistance Programs, which can save customers 30% on their SDG&E bill, during this time of need. Those who recently lost their job, even if they are receiving unemployment benefits, may also be eligible for these programs. More information is located here and also attached. We would appreciate you sharing this on your social media – you never know who could use the extra assistance.
- And as you know, SDG&E was one of the first utilities to voluntarily place a moratorium on utility bill disconnections during this crisis.
- We also will not charge late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit by the coronavirus situation, and do not charge them for residential customers.
- Field Operations. Many of you have seen our highly trained electric and gas crews in field, performing critical safety and reliability projects. With so many working from home, or being isolated at home, our services are more critical than ever. Thank you for cooperating with our crews as they work to keep services flowing. You may notice more vehicles at job sites than normally would show up. In certain cases, employees are meeting at job sites instead of riding in one truck – in an effort to socially distance for multiple-person crews.
- Planned Outages. SDG&E has restricted outages to only those projects driven by safety and reliability. Many of our local governments and developers have been waiting on a planned outage from SDG&E to complete an infrastructure project or a housing development. You have my commitment that we will work with you, once Stay at Home orders are lifted to prioritize and re-schedule your outage.
- Working with Regulators to Mitigate Rate Impacts. As you may know, SDG&E filed a request last year with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to eliminate the state-mandated high usage charge, a charge that we have always opposed because it can result in a spike in customers’ bills when energy use is highest. It can particularly hurt those customers with a high number of family members living at home – and we do not think its fair.
- While we were not successful in eliminating the charge, we recently received some positive news earlier this week from the CPUC in regard to temporarily reducing the high usage charge amid the ongoing COVID-19 emergency to help those customers who are abiding with the shelter at home order and may have suffered an economic hardship. The CPUC issued a preliminary decision that will allow for a short-term approximately 30% reduction to the high usage charge to help provide rate relief to customers who may be using more energy because they are staying home. If approved, this relief can be used in conjunction with the Customer Assistance Programs outlined above.
- Public Service Announcements. We’ve released a couple PSAs to highlight our support for customers during this time of need.
- First: https://vimeo.com/403781567/ea8a83a6e0
- Second (English): https://vimeo.com/402695135/c83d6e187c
- Second (Spanish): https://vimeo.com/402695595/8ffda4fc31
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can support you