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June 5, 2007 > Care Program reduces gas and electric rates

Care Program reduces gas and electric rates

New Income Guidelines Effective June 1, 2007

With summer right around the corner and temperatures warming up, now is the time for Pacific Gas and Electric Company's qualifying customers to sign up for a 20 percent discount on their energy bill. Thousands of income-qualified customers eligible for the California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE) Program can receive a 20 percent reduction on their monthly energy bill. Customers can see the discount on their bill after a full billing cycle. On average, CARE saves households $41 per month on their gas and electric usage.

"Thousands of eligible customers who qualify for this discount program are not aware of the opportunity and we are asking everyone to pass this information on to those who may not know they can benefit from CARE," said Linda Fontes, CARE Program supervisor for PG&E. "To make sure that we reach all CARE qualified customers we have partnered with 75 community-based organizations from Bakersfield to the Oregon border which perform outreach activities and provide assistance in low-income communities. As a result of these partnerships more than 5,400 households were enrolled in the program in 2006."

Since the CARE Program's inception in 1989, PG&E has saved customers more than $2 billion on their energy bills. Currently there are 1,135,139 eligible customers throughout PG&E's service area already enrolled in CARE, which represents 71% of the 1,601,240 eligible customers. Statistics show there are still 466,101 households in northern and central California who are financially eligible for CARE, but not yet enrolled.

The CARE Program and the increased income guidelines will help families with financial challenges. The discount helps families put food on their tables and seniors pay for their prescription medication," said Lisa Salinas, Vice President of Communication Services, LLC, one of PG&E's community outreach contractors. "The CARE Program is a fabulous program that helps us build stronger, healthier neighborhoods in the communities we serve."

Applying for the CARE Program is very easy: Every residential customer will find a CARE application included in their June bill package. Customers can call a toll free multilingual assistance line: 1-866 PGE-CARE (743-2273) to get more information and request an application form. Customers can find a CARE application in Chinese, English, Spanish and Vietnamese online at

Every year, the CPUC adjusts the maximum qualifying income levels to reflect changes in the federal poverty guidelines. These higher income levels mean that more customers can now qualify. The new income guidelines based on pre-tax annual income are as follows:

New Income Levels (Effective June 1, 2007)

1 or 2 $28,600 to $29,300
3 $33,600 to $34,400
4 $40,500 to $41,500
5 $47,400 to $48,600
6 $54,300 to $55,700

Add $7,100 for each additional household member

Besides CARE, PG&E offers a variety of other programs to assist its low income, disabled and senior citizen customers:

REACH - The Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help program provides a one time grant to customers who are unable to pay their energy bill.

FERA - The Family Electric Rate Assistance program is for large households of three or more persons

Energy Partners - Provides free weatherization measures to customers

Medical Baseline - For residential customers dependent on life-support equipment

Balanced Payment Plan - Offers monthly payments that can be evened out

To learn more about CARE and to download an application, please visit our website at or call 1-866-PGE-CARE.

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