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CA Uses Stimulus Funds for Short-Term Rate Assistance

A new short-term payment assistance program began in California last week for customers of the four largest regulated utilities.

Called Temporary Energy Assistance for Families (TEAF), it is a one-time payment program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and utility customers, providing up to $1,500 to income-qualified families who are unable to pay their energy bills due to an unplanned hardship.

The Salvation Army is administering the program for customers of PG&E, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric. Applications for assistance will be accepted until September 21, 2010, or until funding is spent.

Federal stimulus money funds 80 percent of the TEAF program, with a requirement that the remaining 20 percent of funding comes from non-federal money. The four utilities secured CPUC approval to leverage their existing assistance program dollars for the remaining 20 percent needed to obtain TEAF funding.

Grants are open to those customers in arrears who are parents, guardians, or non-custodial parents of a child under 18 years old. In order to qualify for the full grant amount, customers must provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Those customers who do not have proof of citizenship for themselves but do for their children will receive a prorated amount.

Recipients must also provide proof of income and their current utility bill showing the current and past-due amounts, and their income must meet or fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

More information is available in this CPUC decision and on the application form.

Source: California utilities, newspapers and Salvation Army