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PG&E unveils several customer payment options in tight economic climate

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) unveiled several approaches it said would help to help individuals and families manage their energy costs, especially during a tight economy.

PG&E said its Breathe Easy Solutions initiative provides help to its customers. For assistance in finding the right program, you can call 1 (800) 743-5000 or visit www.pge.com.

The company said in a news release to contact PG&E if you’re having trouble paying your bill. You can request payment arrangements to help you catch up on your energy bills.

You can eliminate fluctuations in your bill by enrolling in the balanced payment program. By averaging your bill, you will generally pay the same amount every month, which can help during extreme weather months, PG&E said.

As a deposit alternative, PG&E said its bill guaranty program lets customers secure their account by having another qualifying PG&E customer sign on their behalf.

PG&E said you can make paying your bill easier by having payments to PG&E automatically deducted from your bank account. Automatic payment can also be used instead of making a deposit.

If your household qualifies for the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE), the program provides a monthly discount on your energy bills.If your household qualifies for Family Electric Rate Assistance, the program provides a monthly discount on your electric bills.

The PG&E Energy Partners Program offers income-qualified customers who own or rent a home free energy education and weatherization measures to help reduce energy usage, including refrigerator replacement; door replacement and weather stripping; attic insulation; and compact fluorescent lighting.

Customers who qualify for a monthly discount through CARE may also be eligible for the Energy Partners Program.

If your household is income-qualified, has experienced severe or unplanned hardships and is unable to pay for your energy needs, PG&E said Relief Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) may provide a one-time energy assistance payment. REACH is sponsored by PG&E and administered by the Salvation Army.

If your household is income-qualified, you may be able to receive assistance on your energy bills. Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded energy subsidy program administered by the California Department of Community Services & Development through local agencies and community-based organizations.

You may be eligible to receive additional quantities of energy at the lowest baseline price if you are a residential customer who, because of certain medical conditions, is dependent on life-support equipment and/or has special heating or cooling needs.

Third-Party Notification allows you to name a friend or relative to receive duplicate copies of past-due payment notices. The designated person isn’t responsible for paying the bill, but can contact PG&E to help resolve the problem.

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