COVID-19 Information on Utilities
Many Californians are struggling to afford their monthly utility bills while the COVID-19 economic hardships persist. Municipal and investor-owned utilities have halted disconnections and established payment deferral plans to help in these times. The Governor has also issued an executive order protecting homes and small businesses from water shutoffs.
Existing energy assistance programs are available to aid qualified low-income customers and those with specific medical needs during the COVID-19 crisis. These programs help qualified customers manage home energy use, reduce energy consumption, and save on their energy bill.
Assistance Programs in Investor-Owned Utility Territories
Available to customers of Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) - Provides a 30-35% discount on a qualified customer’s utility bill.
Low-income customers enrolled in the CARE program can potentially receive a 30-35 percent discount on their electric bill and potentially a 20 percent discount on their natural gas bill. CARE is available for customers of Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Consumers should contact their electric utility to see if they qualify.
For more information about CARE and FERA
The Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA) - Charges some of a qualified customer’s electricity usage at a lower rate.
Families whose household income slightly exceeds the CARE allowances will qualify to receive FERA discounts, which applies a 12% discount on their electricity bill. Consumers should contact their electric utility to see if their family qualifies.
For more information about CARE and FERA
Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA) - Provides no-cost weatherization services (in-home weatherization services are temporarily suspended because of COVID-19).
The Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA) provides no-cost weatherization services to low-income households who meet the CARE income guidelines. Services provided include attic insulation, energy-efficient refrigerators, energy-efficient furnaces, weather-stripping, caulking, low-flow showerheads, water heater blankets, and door and building envelope repairs.
For more information about ESA
Medical Baseline Program
The Medical Baseline Program, also known as Medical Baseline Allowance, is an assistance program for residential customers who have special energy needs due to qualifying medical conditions. The program includes two different kinds of assistance: 1) A lower rate on one’s monthly energy bill, and 2) Extra notification in advance of a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
For more information about Medical Baseline Program
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP)
- LIHEAP is a federally funded program aimed to assist low-income households that pay a high portion of their income to meet their energy needs.
- There are several portions of the program that help, such as:
- The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides one-time financial assistance to help balance an eligible household's utility bill.
- The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) provides assistance to low-income households that are in a crisis situation. Such an example would be a household receiving a 24-48 hour disconnect notice or service termination by their utility company. Another example would be a household facing an energy-related crisis that could be deemed potentially life-threatening in the household, such as a combustible appliance.
- LIHEAP Weatherization provides free energy efficiency upgrades to low-income households to lower their monthly utility bills while also improving the health and safety of the household's occupants.
- Education on basic energy efficiency practices and instruction on the proper use and maintenance of installed weatherization measures.
- Energy budget counseling. View LIHEAP Income Eligibility Guidelines
California 2-1-1 (United Way)
(Investor-Owned and Municipal Utility Service Areas)
2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need. Residents can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information on 2-1-1