PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been committed to supporting our customers, communities, and coworkers and keeping them safe. We have also taken on the challenges of the pandemic and found ways to innovate while still providing safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to those we are privileged to serve.

Safety and Support

PG&E employee work on utility lines During the pandemic, we have made it a priority to keep our coworkers safe and informed. We have provided a mobile-accessible microsite, regular video updates on the latest pandemic and health news, all-coworker townhalls, and transparency around case numbers.

Since March 2020, all coworkers whose job allows have worked remotely. For those that must come to work in person, we instituted safety measures such as face covering and physical distancing rules for inside our facilities, at outdoor work sites and in vehicles, regular cleaning of high touch surfaces, and hand sanitizer stations. Additionally, all PG&E coworkers are required to perform a COVID-related daily health check using the LiveSafe App, which notifies their supervisor that they are approved to report to work outside their home.

To promote safety for both our coworkers in the field and the customers and communities we serve, we have implemented a variety of safety precautions. Although they continue to change over the course of the pandemic, these precautions comply with Cal/OSHA regulations and involve protections such as face covering and nitrile glove use, physical distancing and more.

To support coworkers during this unprecedented time, we have implemented a variety of additional benefits:

  • We expanded our time off policy to allow for COVID-19 related leaves of absence or time-off and we provided a temporary time-off policy to allow parents to maintain benefits if they chose to take time for childcare.
  • We offered virtual ergonomic evaluations to all coworkers working from home and provided proper furniture and equipment.
  • We offered reimbursements for coworkers working remotely and using their home internet service and phone to perform their job duties.
  • We covered telemedicine visits—virtual visits with a board-certified doctor, psychiatrist or a licensed therapist—at 100% in 2020 with no copay and also added telemedicine to our health plan in 2021.
  • We implemented the new IRS-approved roll-over options for our flexible spending accounts to offer coworkers more flexibility.

Innovation

PG&E coworkers have risen to the challenge of COVID-19 and developed innovative ways to work safely and effectively:

  • Our nationally recognized PowerPathway Entry to Gas Operations training program transformed into a hybrid model with physical training, soft skills, safety trainings and test prep instruction conducted virtually, while necessary in-person training was kept safe through temperature checks, face masks and social distancing. PowerPathway is now looking into virtual options for other courses.
  • Our system inspections review team went from an in-person operation to a completely virtual one—reviewing drone and helicopter photos of more than 50,000 transmission assets and 200 substations.
  • Our internship program transitioned to a remote model and successfully brought on more than 40 interns in various lines of business. Interns worked from home and safely traveled when necessary to job sites.

Helping Customers and Hometowns

Robust Engagement and Support

Man with a face masking carying boxes of supplies
Photo: Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
We know that the pandemic has created unprecedented economic hardship and in response we have offered programs for customers in need. We have been working directly with customers with past-due bills to make them aware of financial assistance programs and other support. We will increase those efforts as COVID-19 protections expire and will continue our customer support as we slowly move back to more normal billing operations in the second half of 2021.

Financial Assistance

  • Continued existing financial assistance programs such as California Alternate Rates for Energy and Family Electric Rate Assistance to help thousands of income-qualified customers save money on their monthly energy bills. We paused post-enrollment verification and re-enrollment requirements for both of these programs to allow more customers to take part.
  • Offered flexible payment plans to support customers.

Operational

  • Voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment for residential and business customers.
  • Suspended all collection activities including notices and calls. Customers who are on payment plans will continue to receive courtesy reminders.
  • Offered temporary loan deferrals for up to six months for business customers with an active on-bill financing loan under PG&E’s Energy Efficiency Financing program.
  • Waived security deposits for small commercial customers.
  • Suspended re-certification requirements for customers on the Medical Baseline program, which offers customers with qualifying medical conditions a lower monthly rate on energy bills.

Resources and Outreach

  • Provided business customers with PG&E resources and external support, including the U.S. Small Business Paycheck Protection Program and California state support programs.
  • Provided newsletters and direct mail information on COVID-19 resources.
  • Conducted outreach to eligible customers to enroll in a discounted rate for businesses struggling to stay open.

We are also committed to helping communities respond to COVID-19 and its socioeconomic effects:

Innovation

We have also found ways to innovate and provide reliable and safe service during the pandemic. During PSPS events, PG&E adapted our Community Resource Centers (CRC) to keep customers and communities safe while providing essential services. Steps in 2020 included:

  • Following important health and safety protocols at all CRCs, such as requiring face coverings and social distancing, temperature checks at all indoor CRCs, limiting the number of customers permitted indoors at any time, regularly sanitizing surfaces and training all CRC staff on COVID-19 precautions.
  • Opening outdoor and open-air sites in some locations and using vans as mobile CRCs in other locations based on community needs. Supplies were handed out in grab-and-go bags at outdoor CRCs so most customers could be on their way quickly.

PG&E also partnered with the American Red Cross and local charities to assemble kits for those in need across our service area. Virtual volunteers compiled Projects in a Box, benefitting senior centers, at-risk youth and children’s hospitals.

PG&E Corporation also issued a statement on Federal COVID-19 Relief Legislation, the American Rescue Plan Act—joining a group of American business leaders calling for “urgent and largescale” federal intervention in the COVID-19 health crisis.