In Partnership with Community Groups, PG&E Provides Backup Batteries, Food and Hotel Vouchers to Vulnerable Customers Affected by 2020 PSPS Events
In partnership with local community organizations, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to support customers who depend on power for medical equipment and independent living needs with access to critical resources during Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events this year. That support includes backup batteries as well as accessible transportation, hotel accommodations, and food stipends for customers impacted when a forecast of gusty winds and dry conditions combined with a heightened fire risk prompts PG&E to turn off power for public safety.
In April, PG&E and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) launched the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program, a joint effort to aid people with disabilities, medical and independent living needs, and older adults. In August, PG&E’s Portable Battery Program, which provides no-cost backup portable batteries for income-qualified1 customers enrolled in PG&E’s Medical Baseline program and living in high fire-threat districts2, was launched.
Through the end of October, these two programs have provided emergency preparedness outreach and energy assessments to thousands of customers, distributed more than 2,500 backup batteries, coordinated hotel stays for more than 400 customers, and provided more than 525 food stipends to individuals with disabilities and older adults who are more greatly impacted when the power goes out. PG&E began working with the CFILC during the October 2019 PSPS events, when approximately 200 batteries, more than 200 hotel stays, and more than 100 food stipends were provided to individuals affected by the events.
“These programs are administered by dozens of local organizations who understand the specific needs of vulnerable customers in the communities that they serve and that PG&E serves. We don’t take the decision to proactively turn off power for safety lightly, and knowing these local organizations are ready to provide resources to minimize impact to disabled or aging customers is important to all of our employees,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.
Coordination of resources takes time, so customers are encouraged to engage with their local organizations and formulate a plan long before a safety shutoff is imminent. Applications for the Disability Disaster Access and Resources program are available online. Customers can find locations of participating Independent Living Centers administering the program by visiting www.pge.com/disabilityandaging. Hours of operation may be impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.