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

In these unsettling and unprecedented times, many people are concerned about the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.

On this webpage you will find information on what the CPUC and utilities under its jurisdiction are doing to support communities during these challenging times. 

CPUC Actions

As Californians are sheltering at home, residential electric usage has increased 15 to 20 percent in recent weeks compared to the same period last year. The CPUC is taking action to ensure that this does not become an added hardship for people who have lost their jobs or are otherwise suffering economically due to COVID-19. A summary of these actions include:

  • Reducing residential and business energy bills over the coming months by utilizing the California Climate Credit. More information here.
  • Suspending renewal requirements for key low-income programs, including California LifeLine, California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE), and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA). More information here.
  • Educating the public on tips for reducing energy usage via Energy Upgrade California marketing platform. For more information: www.energyupgradeca.org
  • For San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers, the CPUC has eliminated a summer rate increase, delayed an increase on small business gas bills, and reduced the seasonal differential from residential default time-of-use rates in order to help reduce summer bills.
  • Dec. 2020: Mitigating Rate Impacts for Consumers Fact Sheet
  • The federal Emergency Broadband Benefit can help you pay for your broadband internet costs. You can apply beginning on May 12, 2021.

Other CPUC Actions

  • Nov. 20, 2020: Draft Resolution M-4848 will be on the CPUC’s Dec. 17, 2020 Voting Meeting agenda to approve a moratorium on disconnection for non-payment and late payment fees for telephone service during the Governor’s declared State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • May 7, 2020: Free and affordable Internet access and devices are crucial for low income students as they transition to learning from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help bridge this divide, the CPUC approved a partnership with the Department of Education to fund $5 million in devices for students in need. This partnership was previously announced by the Governor on April 20th.
  • May 7, 2020: The CPUC temporarily modified rates for high energy use customers to minimize the impacts of electricity bills in the summer related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More
  • April 23, 2020: CPUC held a workshop on Impacts of COVID-19 on Customer-Oriented Clean Energy Program. More Info
  • March 23, 2020: Sent a letter from CPUC Executive Director to IOUs requiring them to offer a 30-day advanced payment to ESA Contractors to help sustain the ESA workforce during work stoppage. 
    • April 7, 2020: Sent a letter from CPUC Executive Director to IOUs extending the advance payment program to 60-days and making further clarifications regarding assistance to ESA Contractors during the work stoppage. 
    • April 23, 2020: Published Draft Resolution E-5047, ratifying the March 23, 2020 and the April 7, 2020 letters, sent by the Executive Director of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) to offer a 60-day advance payment to Energy Savings Assistance Program Contractors and recommending further actions.

Utility Business Continuity Plans and PSPS Preparation


Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Preparation Plans

The electric utilities are responsible for operating their systems, including the decision to conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff as a last resort. The CPUC’s oversight consists of ensuring that the utilities are clear about the rules they must adhere to, monitoring the utilities’ preparation, and evaluating their implementation.

Links to the 2020 briefing decks presented to CPUC and CAL FIRE can be found on the utility websites below. PG&E is submitting separate biweekly corrective action progress reports that can be found on the docket card of the CPUC’s Public Safety Power Shutoff rulemaking.

Southern California Edison Public Safety Power Shutoffs Webpage

San Diego Gas & Electric Public Safety Power Shutoffs Webpage

Bear Valley Electric Service Public Safety Power Shutoffs Webpage

Liberty Utilities Wildfire Mitigation Page

PacifiCorp California Public Safety Power Shutoffs Webpage

Small Business Resources

Small Businesses 

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)

California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website for small businesses  

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Resources

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for SBA disaster assistance programs online or seek assistance from SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-569-2955/1-800-877-8339 (TTY). For more information, please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources