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Reminder: Protections for Wildfire Victims

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Reminder: Protections exist now for victims of the current wildfires in the state. Please see those consumer protections below. On Aug. 9, 2018, the CPUC's Commissioners will vote on whether to further extend the consumer protections in the case of future wildfires.

UPDATE: On Aug. 9, 2018, our Commissioners made the utility customer protections it previously approved for wildfire victims applicable to future wildfires in which a State of Emergency is called by the Governor. This means that in the case of future wildfires consumers will automatically be protected under those circumstances until the CPUC's proceeding on Emergency Disaster Relief Programs is concluded.

Consumer Protections

  • Disconnections: Wildfire-impacted consumers cannot be disconnected for nonpayment and associated fees.
  • Discontinue Billing: Utilities must discontinue billing customers whose homes are not capable of receiving utility services, and utilities cannot asses a disconnection charge.
  • Waive Deposits: Utilities must waive deposit requirements for affected residents seeking to re-establish service for one year, and must expedite move-in and move-out service requests.
  • Estimated Billing: Utilities must stop energy usage estimates for billing for the time the home/unit was unoccupied as a result of the wildfires.
  • Payment Plans: Affected customers who have prior arrearages and have lost their homes or have been displaced and are seeking to establish service in a new residence, must be offered a payment plan with an initial payment of no greater than 20 percent of the amount due, and with equal installments for the remainder of not less than 12 billing cycles. 
  • Minimum Bills: Utilities must prorate any monthly access charge or minimum charges for affected customers typically assessed so that no customer will bear any of these costs for the time period after the customer's home was rendered unserviceable by a fire.

Further, the CPUC has authorized PG&E to waive the costs that would normally be incurred to customers for establishing temporary service.

 

Communication companies in fire-impacted areas must refund their customers for the periods that the customers are without service due to the wildfires. Carriers of Last Resort must waive connection charges for affected customers.  Further, for customers of the low income California LifeLine program, communication companies must suspend the de-enrollment for non-usage rules and delay the renewal process for the affected consumers.

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