Utility Consumer Protections During California COVID-19 Outbreak

Below is a list of consumer protection provisions enacted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in California. This list covers both Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs), which are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs).  Please visit your specific utility’s webpage for more specific information about protections and benefits available to you.

For additional resources related to the COVID-19 Outbreak, please visit the State of California’s COVID-19 Awareness Website: https://covid19.ca.gov/

For payment assistance programs, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/assistanceplans.

For information about discounts on home and cell phone service available through the California LifeLine Program, please visit https://www.californialifeline.com/en/login for the application and https://www.californialifeline.com/en/provider_search to find a provider near you.

If you have an issue with your utility and would like to file a complaint, please contact the Consumer Affairs Branch via phone at 1-800-649-7570 or via email at consumer-affairs@cpuc.ca.gov.

Fact Sheet: How is the CPUC Helping Consumers and Businesses Impacted by COVID-19?

 

Consumer Protections by Industry

 

Electricity & Natural Gas Utilities - Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs)

  • Disconnections: All electric and natural gas IOUs are suspending service disconnections due to non-payment for both residential and commercial customers until further notice. Please read our press release for more information.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: The electric and natural gas IOUs are offering customers the opportunity to create flexible payment plans if financial hardship is a challenge.
  • Low Income Programs: Two programs – California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) – offer bill discounts for low-income customers. Customers already enrolled in CARE or FERA do not have to renew their applications during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers are encouraged to contact their utility to see if they qualify for CARE or FERA, amounting to an 18-20% discount on their monthly bill.

More information on Electric & Natural Gas IOU actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Alpine Natural Gas https://alpinenaturalgas.com/
Bear Valley Electric Service https://www.bves.com/
Catalina Island Gas Services https://www.sce.com/customer-service/faqs/catalina-island
Liberty Utilities (CalPeco Electric) https://california.libertyutilities.com/truckee/residential/safety/covid-19-statement.html
Pacific Gas and Electric Company https://www.pge.com/en_US/about-pge/company-information/protective-protocols/covid19.page
Pacific Power (PacifiCorp) https://www.pacificpower.net/about/newsroom/service-safety-covid-19.html
San Diego Gas & Electric https://www.sdge.com/coronavirus
Southern California Edison https://www.sce.com/safety/coronavirus
Southern California Gas Company https://www.socalgas.com/coronavirus
Southwest Gas Corporation https://www.swgas.com/en/covid19
West Coast Gas Company https://www.westcoastgas.com/

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Electricity - Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs)

More information on Community Choice Aggregator actions are available on the California Community Choice Association website: https://cal-cca.org/about/ccas-and-covid-19/  

More information on individual CCA actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Apple Valley Choice Energy https://avchoiceenergy.com/
CleanPowerSF https://www.cleanpowersf.org/covid-19
Clean Power Alliance https://cleanpoweralliance.org/
East Bay Community Energy https://ebce.org/
King City Community Power https://www.kingcitycommunitypower.org/
Lancaster Choice Energy https://www.lancasterchoiceenergy.com/
Marin Clean Energy https://www.mcecleanenergy.org/news/press-releases/temporary-collection-suspension/
Monterey Bay Community Power https://www.mbcommunitypower.org/
Peninsula Clean Energy https://www.peninsulacleanenergy.com/
Pico Rivera Innovative Municipal Energy https://www.poweredbyprime.org/
Pioneer Community Energy https://pioneercommunityenergy.ca.gov/
Rancho Mirage Energy Authority https://ranchomirageenergy.org/
Redwood Coast Energy Authority https://redwoodenergy.org/
San Jacinto Power http://sanjacintopower.com/
San Jose Clean Energy https://www.sanjosecleanenergy.org/
Silicon Valley Clean Energy https://www.svcleanenergy.org/
Solana Energy Alliance https://solanaenergyalliance.org/
Sonoma Clean Power https://sonomacleanpower.org/office-closure
Valley Clean Energy https://valleycleanenergy.org/news/vces-response-to-covid-19/

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Water & Sewer Companies - Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs)

  • Disconnections: All large water and sewer IOUs are suspending service disconnections due to non-payment for both residential and commercial customers until further notice. Also, to the extent possible, companies intend to reconnect recently disconnected customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please read our press release for more information.
  • Water Quality: Water and sewer utilities are continuing essential work functions to provide clean and safe tap water during the COVID-19 outbreak.

More information on Water & Sewer IOU actions are available on the California Water Association (CWA) website:
http://www.calwaterassn.com/largest-regulated-water-utilities-halt-water-shutoffs-during-coronavirus-crisis/

More information on individual Water & Sewer IOU actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Alisal Water Corporation  
Bakman Water Company https://www.bakmanwater.com/
California American Water Company https://amwater.com/caaw/
California Water Service https://www.calwater.com/
Catalina Island Water Service  https://www.sce.com/customer-service/faqs/catalina-island

https://www.sce.com/safety/coronavirus

DelOro Water Company http://www.delorowater.com/
East Pasadena Water Company https://epwater.com/customer-resources/emergency-disaster-relief-program/
Fontana Water Company http://www.fontanawater.com/
Golden State Water Company https://www.gswater.com/covid-19-updates/
Great Oaks Water Company https://www.greatoakswater.com/COVID19.html
Liberty Utilities (Park Water and Apple Valley Ranchos) https://california.libertyutilities.com/compton/residential/safety/covid-19-statement.html
Lukins Water http://www.lukinswater.com/
San Gabriel Valley Water Company https://www.sgvwater.com/
San Jose Water Company https://www.sjwater.com/COVID-19
Suburban Water Systems http://www.swwc.com/suburban/covid19/

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Electricity & Natural Gas Utilities - Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs)

  • Disconnections: Some electric and natural gas POUs are suspending service disconnections due to non-payment for both residential and commercial customers until further notice. Please check with your specific utility for more information.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Many electric and natural gas POUs are offering customers the opportunity to create flexible and extended payment plans if financial hardship is a challenge.

More information on Electric & Natural Gas POU actions are available on the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) website: https://www.cmua.org/cmua-members-suspending-shutoffs

More information on individual Electric & Natural Gas POU actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Alameda Municipal Power https://www.alamedamp.com/165/Financial-Assistance

https://www.alamedamp.com/AlertCenter.aspx

Anaheim Public Utilities https://www.anaheim.net/226/Public-Utilities
Azusa (City of) https://www.ci.azusa.ca.us/132/Light-Water  
Banning Public Utilities Department http://banning.ca.us/57/Banning-Electric-Utility
Biggs Municipal Utilities  https://www.biggs-ca.gov/Announcements/index.html
Burbank Water and Power https://www.burbankwaterandpower.com/
Colton (City of) https://www.ci.colton.ca.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=101
Corona (City of) https://www.coronaca.gov/i-want-to/learn-more-about/coronavirus
Healdsburg (City of) hhttps://www.ci.healdsburg.ca.us/974/Coronavirus-COVID-19
Glendale Water and Power https://www.glendaleca.gov/government/departments/glendale-water-and-power
Gridley (City of) http://gridley.ca.us/government-and-departments/departments/electric-department
Imperial Irrigation District https://www.iid.com/about-iid/news-resources/-item-757
Lodi Electric Utility http://lodielectric.com/352/Electric-Utility
Lompoc (City of)     https://www.cityoflompoc.com/government/departments/utilities/electric
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power https://www.ladwp.com/
Modesto Irrigation District https://www.mid.org/
Moreno Valley Utility http://www.moval.org/mvu/about-covid19-update.html
Needles (City of)  http://cityofneedles.com/utilities/
Oakland (Port of)  https://www.portofoakland.com/port-of-oakland-updates/
Palo Alto (City of) https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/utl/default.asp
Pasadena Water and Power https://ww5.cityofpasadena.net/water-and-power/covid19/
Pittsburg Power Company - Island Energy http://pittsburgpowerco.com/blog/
Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative https://www.psrec.coop/services/low-income-assistance/
Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility https://www.cityofrc.us/rcmu
Redding Electric Utility https://www.cityofredding.org/departments/redding-electric-utility

https://www.cityofredding.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23697

Riverside Public Utilities https://riversideca.gov/press/information-regarding-covid-19-coronavirus
Roseville Electric Utility https://www.roseville.ca.us/government/COVID-19_information
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) https://www.sfwater.org/
Shasta Lake (City of)  https://www.cityofshastalake.org/AlertCenter.aspx
Silicon Valley Power https://www.siliconvalleypower.com/

https://www.siliconvalleypower.com/Home/Components/News/News/40189/6271?backlist=%2f

SMUD https://www.smud.org/en/Corporate/About-us/News-and-Media/2020/2020/SMUD-suspends-power-shutoffs-for-non-payment
Truckee Donner PUD https://www.tdpud.org/customer-service/covid-19-response
Turlock Irrigation District Water & Power https://www.tid.org/news-and-resources/safety-tips-and-resources/coronavirus/
Ukiah (City of) http://www.cityofukiah.com/coronavirus/
Vernon Public Utilities http://cityofvernon.org/city-news/336-coronavirus-covid-19-response-and-information

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Water & Sewer Companies - Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs)

  • Disconnections: Many of the larger water and sewer POUs are suspending service disconnections due to non-payment for both residential and commercial customers until further notice. Please check with your utility for specific provisions. Please read our press release for more information.
  • Water Quality: Water and sewer utilities are continuing essential work functions to provide clean and safe tap water during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Many of the water and sewer POUs are offering customers the opportunity to create flexible and extended payment plans if financial hardship is a challenge.

More information on Water POU actions are available on the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) website: https://www.cmua.org/cmua-members-suspending-shutoffs

If you have experienced a shut-off to your water service and are a customer of a POU, you can file a complaint at https://watershut-off.covid19.ca.gov.

More information on individual Water & Sewer POU actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Alameda County Water District  https://www.acwd.org/721/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Updates 
Borrego Water District  http://www.bvgsp.org/
Crescenta Valley Water District  https://www.cvwd.com/
Cucamona Valley Water District https://www.cvwdwater.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=247
Desert Water Company https://dwa.org/latest-updates/282-dwa-waives-late-fees-and-cancels-water-shutoffs
East Bay MUD https://www.ebmud.com/water/about-your-water/water-quality/coronavirus/
Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District http://www.evmwd.com/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=6690&TargetID=1,47,49,48,3,2
City of Fillmore Water & Sewer Letter  
Helix Water District https://hwd.com/coronavirus-updates/#shutoffs
Irvine Ranch Water District https://www.irwd.com/learning/liquid-news/irwd-offices-temporarily-closed-to-the-public
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District https://www.lvmwd.com/your-water/water-quality/covid-19
City of Long Beach Water https://lbwater.org/news-media/public-updates/
Modesto Irrigation District http://www.mid.org
Monte Vista Water District https://www.mvwd.org/349/COVID-19-and-Drinking-Water
North Coast County Water District  https://nccwd.com/billing/16-resources/143-links.html
Olivenhain Municipal Water District  https://www.olivenhain.com/covid19information/
Placer County Water Agency  https://www.pcwa.net/newsroom/covid-19-faqs
Rancho Water District https://www.ranchowater.com/373/COVID-19-Ongoing-Updates 
Roseville Utilities http://roseville.ca.us/news/what_s_happening_in_roseville/utility_service_updates_regarding_covid-19
Rowland Water District https://www.rowlandwater.com/rowland-water-district-temporarily-suspends-water-shutoffs/  
City of Sacramento Department of Utilities https://sacramentocityexpress.com/2020/03/18/city-waives-delinquent-utility-penalties-to-ensure-households-have-access-to-critical-services-during-covid-19-outbreak/
City of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission https://sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=1321
City of Santa Rosa Water https://srcity.org/812/My-Water-Bill
Santa Clarita Valley Water https://yourscvwater.com/customer-care/
Scotts Valley Water District  https://www.svwd.org/customer-info/bill-pay-options
Sunnyslope County Water District http://www.sscwd.org/
Valley Center Municipal Water District http://www.vcmwd.org/
Vista Irrigation District  https://www.vidwater.org/covid-19-information
Walnut Valley Water District  https://www.wvwd.com/drinking-water-coronavirus-covid-19/
Western Municipal Water District https://www.wmwd.com/

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Small Local Exchange Carriers (LECs)

  • Disconnections & Fees: All small LECs are suspending service disconnections for both residential and commercial customers for 60 days from March 18, 2020. Companies are also waiving late fees and collection efforts.

More information on actions taken by small LECs: Letter from March 18, 2020

More information on individual LEC actions related to COVID-19 are available on the utility websites:

Calaveras Telephone Company http://www.caltelconnect.com/telephone
Cal-Ore Telephone Company https://comm.cot.net/covid-19/
Ducor Telephone Company https://varcomm.net/
Foresthill Telephone Company https://sebastiancorp.com/
Happy Valley Telephone Company https://www.tdstelecom.com  
Hornitos Telephone Company https://www.tdstelecom.com
Kerman Telephone Company https://sebastiancorp.com/
Pinnacles Telephone Company http://www.pintelco.com/home.html
Ponderosa Telephone Company http://www.goponderosa.com/
Sierra Telephone Company https://www.sierratel.com/

Access Program for Schools and Households

Siskiyou Telephone Company http://www.sisqtel.net/
Volcano Telephone Company https://www.volcanocommunications.com/
Winterhaven Telephone Company https://www.tdstelecom.com

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Communications Companies

  • CPUC Broadband in Schools Initiative
    • CPUC will be making $25 million available from the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) for hotspots and Internet service for student households and discounts for school districts. For more information about CTF, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/ctf.
    • Additionally, an additional $5 million will be made available for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to cover the costs of hotspot devices and computers. For more information, please visit: ww.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6442457502  
    • The Department of Education is also tracking affordable internet service plans. For more information, please visit: www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/availableinternetplans.asp.
     
  • FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) encouraged all providers to pledge, for the next 60 days, to do the following:
    • Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
     

The largest fixed broadband and wireless cellphone providers in California – listed below – have all signed onto the FCC pledge, which is available at this link: Keep Americans Connected Pledge.

 

 Fixed Broadband Companies  

AT&T Wireline

 2020CoverageMap_ATTWireline

AT&T has announced it is offering two months of free service to new customers of its affordable broadband program and has also expanded program eligibility. AT&T waived data overages for internet wireline and fixed wireless internet customers for 60 days.
AT&T’s Website
AT&T's COVID-19 Response Website
AT&T’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Access from AT&T

Charter Communications

2020CoverageMap_Charter
Charter is increasing speeds and offering free access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students that do not already have a subscription. Charter does not charge for data overages.
Charter’s Website
Charter's COVID-19 Response Website
Charter’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Spectrum Internet Assist 

Comcast

2020CoverageMap_Comcast

Comcast is increasing eligibility and speeds to their affordable broadband and new subscribers will receive 60 days free. Comcast waived data overage for 60 days.
Comcast’s Website
Comcast’s COVID-19 Response Website
Comcast’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Internet Essentials

Consolidated Communications

2020CoverageMap_Consolidated  

Consolidated Communications does not have an affordable broadband plan.
Consolidated Communications’ Website
Consolidated Communications’ COVID-19 Response Website 

Cox Communications

2020CoverageMap_Cox

Cox Communications is increasing eligibility and service speeds to their affordable broadband program. New eligible subscribers will receive one month free. Cox waived data overages for 60 days.
Cox’s Website
Cox’s COVID-19 Response Website
Cox’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Connect2Compete

Cox's Connect2Compete COVID-19 Offering

Frontier Communications

2020CoverageMap_Frontier

Frontier Communications provides an affordable broadband and landline service bundle as part of their LifeLine offering.
Frontier Communications’ Website
Frontier Communication’s Affordable Broadband Bundle

Sierra Telephone Company

2020CoverageMap_Sierra

Sierra Telephone Company does not have an affordable broadband plan.
Sierra Telephone Company’s Website

Sonic Telecom

2020CoverageMap_Sonic

Sonic is offering three months of free internet access and unlimited nationwide home telephone service to households with K-12, college students, or senior citizens 60 or older. Sonic does not have an affordable broadband plan.
Sonic’s Website
Sonic’s COVID-19 Response Website

Suddenlink

2020CoverageMap_Suddenlink

Suddenlink is providing free broadband for 60 days to any new household in their service area to impacted K-12 and/or college students who do not currently have home internet access. Suddenlink additionally offers an affordable broadband plan.
Suddenlink’s Website
Suddenlink’s COVID-19 Response Website
Suddenlink’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Altice Advantage

Wave

2020CoverageMap_Wave

Wave offers an affordable broadband plan.
Wave’s Website
Wave’s COVID-19 Response Website
Wave’s Affordable Broadband Plan, Simply Internet

 

Wireless Companies

AT&T Wireless

2020CoverageMap_ATTWireless

For the next 60 days, AT&T will waive all wireless overage fees for customers. AT&T does not have an affordable service plan.
AT&T Wireless’ Website
AT&T's COVID-19 Response Website

Sprint

2020CoverageMap_Sprint

Sprint is providing unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans, and providing 20 GB of free data to customers with hotspot/tethering-capable devices. Sprint does not offer an affordable service plan.
Sprint’s Website
Sprint’s COVID-19 Response Website

T-Mobile

2020CoverageMap_TMobile

T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile are providing unlimited data for 60 days to all customers, and providing 20 GB of free data to customers with hotspot/tethering-capable devices. T-Mobile does not offer an affordable service plan.
T-Mobile’s Website
T-Mobile’s COVID-19 Response Website

U.S. Cellular

2020CoverageMap_UScellular

Californians are not eligible for U.S. Cellular’s affordable Lifeline service offer. U.S. Cellular does not offer an affordable service plan.
U.S. Cellular’s Website
U.S. Cellular’s COVID-19 Response Website

Verizon

2020CoverageMap_Verizon

Verizon does not have an affordable service plan.
Verizon’s Website
Verizon's COVID-19 Response Website

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Letter from CPUC Directing Utilities to Provide Information Regarding Consumer Protections

 

Letter from CPUC Directing Utilities to Provide Information Regarding Business Continuity

 

More Resources

 

Small Businesses

 

U.S. Small Business Administation (SBA) Resources

 

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More COVID-19 Information


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