PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2020

Plan of Reorganization Commitments

Engaging Customers

At PG&E, we value the rich diversity of the customers and communities we serve. Notably, our Mission, Vision, Culture statement—the guiding principles of how we operate—puts the customer front and center.

Our centralized customer service model coupled with local field-based operations allows us to serve customers through our contact center and web services, while working with customers on a local level to help them better understand their energy needs and manage their energy costs. Over the last several years, PG&E has also significantly enhanced our wildfire safety education and awareness efforts to improve customer preparedness and safety.

Our Approach

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Customer Care organization, led by the company’s Chief Customer Officer, works to deliver the best experience for each and every customer. This includes using data-informed insights to improve the customer experience, localizing our presence and strategies in the communities we serve, and empowering customers with greater choice and control over how they manage their energy use. We also continuously integrate customer feedback to develop, enhance and improve our products and services.

COVID-19 Response

During the COVID-19 public health crisis, we know that many of our customers may face uncertainty and financial instability due to school and childcare closures, job loss and other economic impacts.

PG&E has implemented a series of emergency protections to support customers who have been impacted by the pandemic, including suspending service disconnections for non-payment, waiving security deposits, implementing flexible payment plan options, and providing additional support for low-income and medical baseline customers.

PG&E committed $1 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts in our service area. PG&E also donated nearly 1 million N95 and surgical masks for distribution to California hospitals and other first responders. This funding was supported by PG&E utility charitable contributions and The PG&E Corporation Foundation and focuses on general relief; food security for vulnerable communities, including seniors; and support for small businesses.

PG&E also recognizes that many residential customers are now spending considerably more time at home and using more energy than normal. Customers can take advantage of energy saving options and can view a personalized rate plan comparison at to help determine if there is a better rate plan for their household.

As we all continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we want our customers to know that PG&E is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable energy, and that we will continuously look for additional ways to help during these challenging times.

We have also instructed our employees who have in-person customer interactions to take social distancing precautionary measures, such as avoiding handshakes and wearing disposable nitrile gloves while in customers’ homes. We are committed to addressing customer service needs and maintain a dedicated customer education resource regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making PSPS Events Shorter, Smaller and Smarter for Our Customers

This year, we are providing better information and resources to customers and communities before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event. These are events where we proactively turn off power to some customers based on weather forecasts and elevated wildfire conditions to protect life and property. We are working to reduce PSPS events by one third versus similar events in 2019. We are also delivering more assistance and outreach to help vulnerable customers.

To make PSPS events shorter in length, we are:

  • Nearly doubling our exclusive-use helicopter fleet during events from 35 to 65.
  • Using two airplanes with infrared cameras capable of inspecting transmission lines at night.
  • Adding more field crews to speed up inspections.
  • Investing in more reliable and innovative equipment, so our field teams can inspect, repair and restore power quickly.
  • Utilizing mutual assistance from other utility companies to support PSPS restoration inspections when needed.

To make PSPS events smaller, we are:

  • Installing more than 600 sectionalizing devices capable of re-directing power and limiting the size of outages so fewer communities are without power.
  • Installing microgrids that use generators to keep the lights on for whole communities.
  • Conducting targeted undergrounding as part of system hardening.

To make PSPS events smarter for our customers, we are:

  • Improving our weather monitoring technology and installing new weather stations to more precisely predict the need for and timing of PSPS events.
  • Installing high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas to improve real-time monitoring of high-risk areas and conditions.
  • Improving customer alerts with earlier estimates of restoration timing.
  • Upgrading Community Resource Centers (CRCs) so that customers without power can have a place to go for charging and other basic needs. PG&E is adapting our approach to CRCs to reflect appropriate COVID-19 public health considerations. We are planning to offer micro CRCs (smaller, open air tents) and mobile CRCs (vans) to supplement hardened CRCs if shelter-at-home and physical distancing requirements are in place during PSPS events.
  • Establishing a new collaborative working approach with cities, counties, tribes and critical service providers.
  • Building a new, standalone cloud-based website specifically for emergencies. This includes revised content and tools for easier usability for customers.
  • Partnering with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and other community-based organizations to provide resources for vulnerable customers and conduct outreach. These local affiliates can provide transportation, lodging or temporary generation, depending on need.
  • Expanding in-language communications.

PG&E has reserved more than 450 MW of temporary mobile generation to be deployed in four ways to mitigate the impacts of PSPS events:

  • Substation-sited temporary generation, for which PG&E is preparing 62 substations across its service area to receive temporary generation during the 2020 wildfire season
  • Temporary microgrids for designated areas like “main street” corridors by rapidly isolating them from the wider grid and re-energizing them using temporary generation during an outage
  • Community Resource Centers, where temporary generation may be needed
  • Backup power support for individual facilities crucial to ensuring public safety

Additionally, our Humboldt Bay Generating Station (HBGS) can now provide power directly to customers, if needed, during emergencies, including PSPS events and other events outside Humboldt County that are impacting the county. Known as “islanding,” the re-configuring of the plant will allow portions of Humboldt County to be separated from the larger grid and energized exclusively from HBGS when transmission sources that import, export and stabilize power to nearby areas are impacted. Areas that can be powered by the HBGS include 20 cities and towns such as Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna as well as some tribal communities.

Serving Customers Locally

We maintain cross-functional leadership teams in each PG&E Division, led by local leaders, to address local issues, collaborate with representatives from across PG&E and incorporate the needs and concerns of our customers into operating decisions. In coordination with our centralized customer services functions, our local teams enable and facilitate critical gas and electric service work by performing project-related customer and community outreach and managing customer issues at the local level.

As part of PG&E’s Plan of Reorganization, PG&E has committed to reimagine the organization—regionalizing our operations and infrastructure to enhance our focus on local communities and customers.

Integrating Feedback

PG&E regularly uses customer surveys, focus groups, online customer panels and other forms of research to obtain feedback and insights that help drive our decision-making and improvements in how we serve our customers. For example, PG&E established the People with Disabilities and Aging Advisory Council in 2020, an externally focused advisory council comprised of a diverse group of recognized leaders from community-based organizations who support our most vulnerable customer populations.

Saving Customers Energy and Money

PG&E offers a full portfolio of programs and incentives for energy efficiency, demand response, clean energy transportation and solar energy, as well as choice and control through rate options, financial assistance programs and other resources. We’re building out a growing network of EV charging stations for workplaces and apartment buildings, as approved by the CPUC and have begun to build EV charging stations for customers with fleet vehicles.

Making It Easy

PG&E’s website ( offers our customers an easy and convenient way to manage their account online—whether on their desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

The vast majority of our customers can view and download their hourly usage and cost data, in addition to comparing their usage to that of similar homes in their neighborhood. Our Home Energy Checkup and Business Energy Checkup tools allow our residential and small and medium business customers to find energy savings ideas by providing tips and savings recommendations to help them manage their energy costs.

Our energy statements provide clear and easy-to-understand information, and a growing number of our customers have chosen to enroll in our paperless billing option. We offer our customers a variety of payment options, including automatic payments by debit or credit cards. Customers can call or go to our website to learn how to pay online or to find nearby Neighborhood Payment Centers.

Our website also allows customers who are experiencing financial hardship to extend their payment due date or sign up for payment arrangements, if eligible. Customers can also enroll in longer-term financial assistance programs such as the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program or the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program, or sign up for our budget billing program that averages out their monthly payment amounts and helps them stay on budget year-round.

Customers can start, transfer or stop service via our website; they can also schedule appointments to relight their gas pilot lights online. Our website allows customers to sign up for numerous service-related alerts, including outage, billing and payment, and appointment notifications. Energy Alerts, also available, will notify customers when their energy usage is on the rise and allow them to use My Rate Analysis to make sure they’re on the right rate plan.

In addition to digital offerings, PG&E continues to offer self-service capabilities over the phone, such as reconnection service via our Interactive Voice Response technology. Many of our communications are also available in multiple languages and formats, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Braille and large print.

We have also enhanced our website and customer notifications to provide more timely, detailed and accurate information during PSPS events. Information will be available in 13 languages and upgraded outage maps will show impacted areas more clearly.

Measuring Progress

We are committed to improving satisfaction for both residential and business customers. In 2018, our customer satisfaction rose to a high of 77.3, driven by customer satisfaction with service reliability and pricing. In 2019, due to PG&E’s Chapter 11 filing and multiple PSPS events, customer satisfaction with PG&E decreased from the prior year.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction Footnote 1
2017 2018 2019
Customer Satisfaction Score 75.6 77.3 72.6
  • 1. To measure customer satisfaction, we use a random-sample, proprietary customer survey that is conducted quarterly by an independent third party. The customer satisfaction score is determined by averaging customers’ overall satisfaction with our products and services using a 1 to 10 scale, indexed to a score from 1 to 100.1

In 2019, PG&E began using a new metric for measuring the satisfaction of our customers. This metric tracks customer complaints that are escalated to the CPUC, and is now part of our Short-Term Incentive Plan. Our 2019 target was 12.2 complaints per 100,000 adjusted customers, and we achieved that goal with a 10.1 complaint rate for the year.

Each year, we also benchmark our customer satisfaction results against best-in-class performing gas and electric providers, using data from Escalent-Cogent utility benchmarking studies with both residential and business customers.