PG&E says thousands more may be eligible for discounts based on poverty guidelines

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said thousands more gas and electric customers may now be eligible to get a discount on their monthly energy bill.

The company said the possible discount came from an adjustment in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program’s income qualifications.

Every year, the California Public Utilities Commission adjusts the maximum qualifying income levels for CARE to reflect federal poverty guidelines, PG&E said in a news release. The latest adjustment means more PG&E customers may now qualify for the program based on their pre-tax annual income, as follows:

Size of Household Previous Income Guidelines New Income Guidelines

( June 1, 2010 – May 31, 2011)

1-2 $30,500 $31,300

3 $35,800 $36,800

4 $43,200 $44,400

5 $50,600 $52,000

6 $58,000 $59,600

Each Additional Person Add $7,400 $7,600

On average, CARE saves households $46 a month on their gas and electric bill, the news release said. Since the program's inception in 1989, PG&E customers enrolled in CARE have saved more than $3.7 billion on their energy bills.

More than 1.4 million customers throughout PG&E's service area are enrolled in CARE. Thousands of additional households in Northern and Central California are eligible for CARE, but not yet enrolled.

Eligible PG&E customers can apply for CARE by going online to www.pge.com/care and be enrolled in the program within two business days. Customers may also enroll through the toll-free multilingual assistance line at (866) 743-2273. The discount will appear on their bill after a full billing cycle.