As fire season contineus and the uncertainty of the pandemic continues to unfold, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is launching a program to further enhance safety when the power goes out for customers that depend on life saving medical equipment.
The program is available before, during, and after public safety power shutoff events when PG&E needs to turn off power during severe weather for public safety to prevent wildfires.
PG&E’s Portable Battery Program provides no-cost backup portable batteries for eligible income-qualified customers who live in high fire-threat districts and are enrolled in the Medical Baseline program. Additional eligibility requirements include a reliance on medical equipment that operates on electricity to sustain life. Working in coordination with community based organizations, PG&E has identified approximately 10,500 customers who could qualify for this program.
Community organizations are conducting initial outreach to all 10,500 customers to assess their needs with a survey and based on these results, the organizations determine which customers are eligible to receive batteries. The batteries are then deliver by the organization to the homes of qualified customers, who will set up the batteries and educate customers on how to safely operate and maintain the equipment. COVID-19 protocols will be followed.
The battery program is administered by the following five low-income home energy assistance program providers: Butte Community Action Agency, Central Coast Energy Services, Community Resource Project, North Coast Energy Services, and Redwood Community Action Agency. Richard Heath & Associates, a third-party energy program implementer focused on underserved communities, is also administering the program.
PG&E provided $19 million to fund the 2020 effort.
PG&E offers additional programs for customers not qualified for PG&E’s new Medical Baseline portable battery program. For more information log onto pge.com/psps.