Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 across its 48-county service area. As the pandemic impacts our local communities, we understand the potential for increasing financial struggles facing our customers as schools and businesses close. With more people remaining at home for extended periods of time, households may see an increase in energy use.
Working from home, while caring for children and youth, adds stress in an already anxious environment. At PG&E, we know that electric and gas usage will likely increase for many customers as they practice social distancing and stay at home. We want to help customers with common-sense advice and easy-to-use tips to reduce the impacts on their budgets, said Laurie Giammona, PG&Es Chief Customer Officer and a Senior Vice President.
PG&E is committed to providing safe and reliable energy and ensuring business continuity in these challenging times. We are not currently experiencing any disruptions to delivering gas and electric service to our customers.
Actions to Support Customers
In its continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PG&E is supporting customers with the following actions:
- PG&E voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment. This suspension applies to both residential and commercial customers and will remain in effect until further notice.
- For the cities and counties that have a shelter-in-place order, PG&E will not perform work that requires a clearance resulting in a planned outage that impacts customers. If theres critical work that requires a planned outage, it will be elevated for resolution.
- For the cities and counties without a shelter-in-place order, PG&E will not perform work that requires a clearance resulting in a planned outage that impacts customers with the exception of Wildfire Mitigation Program work. We will work to minimize customer impact, if possible, with temporary construction or generation. If there is critical work that requires a planned outage, it will be elevated for resolution.
- It has formally activated its Emergency Operations Center to facilitate and coordinate the companys response to the spread of the virus. The company has had an Incident Management Team monitoring and responding to the virus for three weeks.
Tips, Tools and Programs to Save Energy and Money
Here are some tips and easy-to-use resources to help manage your home energy usage during this difficult time.
Heating and cooling
- Recommended thermostat temperatures, health permitting, are 68°F when home and awake, and 58°F when away or asleep.
- Consider wearing a sweater or using a blanket to stay warm.
- Evaluate conditions before turning on central heating. If the household is gathered in one room, maybe use an electric space heater. Remember to first read and follow all safety guidelines.
- Warm your home naturally by opening blinds and windows during sunnier hours.
Electronics, appliances and lighting
- Use computer sleep and hibernate modes, which can be activated through your computers power settings.
- Plug all personal electronics into a power strip and simply turn off the power strip when electronics arent in use.
- When not in use, unplug small appliances and electronics, like coffee makers and printers.
- Open blinds and window coverings and use natural light instead of lamps.
TV and game consoles
- Turn down the brightness of your TV. Factory settings are typically brighter than needed.
- Use Energy Saving features. There are eco or energy-saving settings that automatically adjust backlight and disable certain features, like voice commands when in standby mode.
- Use smaller screens, like tablets, to stream media.
- Completely turn off TVs and game consoles.
More tips, tools and resources
- Talk to household members about an energy-savings plan. Engage kids and have them turn lights and electronics off or shut doors behind them.
- Explore programs, like Budget Billing to help avoid or manage unanticipated high bills. The California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) provides qualified customers with a monthly discount. Customers can apply for CARE online. Applying is easy and only takes about five minutes. Qualifying customers will begin receiving the CARE program discount within their next billing cycle.
Keeping Customers and Employees Safe by Closing Service Centers
All PG&Es customer service centers where customers normally pay their bills closed on Tuesday, March 17. Customers who typically pay their bills at one of these centers can call 1-877-704-8470, mail payments to PG&E, P.O. Box 997300, Sacramento, CA 95899, or go to pge.com to learn how to pay online or to find nearby Neighborhood Payment Centers.
The safety and health of our customers, employees and communities we serve is our primary responsibility. We have instructed our employees who have direct customer contact to take social distancing precautionary measures, such as avoiding handshakes and wearing disposable nitrile gloves while in customers’ homes. We are committed to continue addressing customer service needs.
No disruption in gas or electric service is anticipated due to the public health crisis. Please visit ww.pge.com/covid19/ to read more about PG&Es response to the virus.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nations cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.