CPUC Enacts Emergency Consumer Protections For December 2017 Wildfires Victims

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today enacted emergency consumer protections for victims of the Southern California wildfires.

In December 2017, multiple wildfires broke out throughout Southern California that destroyed and continue to threaten critical infrastructure, impacting essential services for hundreds of thousands of people.

The CPUC today ordered Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, and communications companies in the affected areas to take all reasonable and necessary actions to implement emergency consumer protections to support the victims of the wildfires, including, but not limited to:

  1. Waive deposit requirements for affected wildfire residential customers seeking to re-establish service for one year and expedite move-in and move-out service requests.
  2. Stop estimated energy use for billing for residential customers attributed to the time period when the home/unit was unoccupied as a result of the wildfires.
  3. Implement payment plan options for residential customers.
  4. Suspend disconnection for non-payment and associated fees; waive deposit and late fee requirements for residential customers.

Communication providers have an obligation to provide bill credits to customers for time out of service, as well as any additional service accommodations necessary to ensure their customers have access to telecommunication services following the fires.

The California LifeLine Program will also enable impacted California LifeLine participants to keep their California LifeLine discounts for a longer period of time. Additionally, the California LifeLine Program will conduct an outreach effort to assist California LifeLine participants with the renewal process.

The emergency consumer protections ordered today apply to impacted residential and non-residential customers for up to one year.

The proposal voted on is available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M202/K417/202417839.PDF.

For more information on the CPUC’s work regarding the Southern California fires, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/SoCalFires2017.

For information on the CPUC’s work regarding the Northern California fires that started in October 2017, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/October2017Fires.

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.  For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, multiple wildfires, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017 and the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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