PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Engaging Customers

At PG&E, we are focused on delivering better outcomes for our customers. We are moving to a regional model as part of our commitment to deliver better operational outcomes in our hometowns; understand and address the risks of our infrastructure, including wildfire risk; safeguard the public and consistently deliver great customer service.

Over the last year, PG&E has continued to enhance our wildfire safety education and awareness efforts to improve customer preparedness and safety. We have also established financial assistance programs and education to support our customers with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Approach

Led by Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, we are working 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

PG&E recognizes the hardships that customers may be facing due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, PG&E implemented a series of emergency protections to support customers who have been impacted by the pandemic and supported our communities through contributions from PG&E and The PG&E Corporation Foundation.

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Program

We may need to turn off power during severe weather to help prevent wildfires. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff or PSPS event.

We know that losing power disrupts lives, and we are providing customers with more resources before, during and after PSPS events:

  • Sending customer notifications in 16 languages
  • Sending non-account holder notifications for specific addresses through our Address Alert tool
  • Providing additional portable backup batteries to eligible customers
  • Targeting additional ADA-accessible Community Resource Center sites
  • Providing meal replacement options in all counties likely to be impacted
  • Expanding our partnerships with community-based organizations

We are also working with the Disability Disaster Access and Resources, or DDAR, program, in partnership with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, to provide support before and during PSPS events. During 2020 PSPS events, these Centers engaged with approximately 1,700 customers to provide portable backup batteries, accessible transportation, hotel accommodations and food stipends.

Our Portable Battery Program provides no-cost backup portable batteries to low-income customers enrolled in the medical baseline program that rely on power for medical or independent living needs and reside in high fire-threat areas. In 2021, we are providing 5,000 more batteries, which is in addition to the 6,500 batteries we provided in 2020.

Backup electric power can be a part of any preparedness plan. PG&E customers interested in acquiring a backup power system qualify for a generator rebate if they live in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 high fire-threat area and rely on well water pumping for their water needs. Through this Generator Rebate Program, we are offering a $300 rebate for all eligible customers or a $500 rebate for eligible customers who are also participants in the CARE or FERA program.

Additionally, PG&E has reserved approximately 300 MW of temporary generation to be deployed in four ways to mitigate the impacts of PSPS events:

  • Substation-sited temporary generation
  • Temporary microgrids for designated areas like “main street” corridors
  • Community Resource Centers, where temporary generation may be needed
  • Backup power support for individual facilities crucial to ensuring public safety

Our Humboldt Bay Generating Station can also provide power directly to customers, if needed, during emergencies, including PSPS events and other events outside Humboldt County that are impacting the county.

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.

PG&E has committed to reimagine the organization—regionalizing our operations and infrastructure to enhance our focus on local communities and customers. In June 2021, we announced five new Regional Vice Presidents, which will be followed by a broader rollout of our plans at the regional level.

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. PG&E also launched customer collaboration sessions to hear from and collaborate with customers on improving service solutions during PSPS events.

PG&E also convenes various stakeholder advisory groups for specific areas, including:

  • Communities of Color Advisory Group, which provides guidance on outreach strategies to effectively communicate rate options and energy affordability programs to diverse and hard to reach communities.
  • Clean Transportation Program Advisory Council, which provides feedback and guidance on PG&E’s electric vehicle (EV) programs, including EV Charge Network, EV Fleet and EV Fast Charge.
  • Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel, which provides diverse community viewpoints to help inform PG&E’s site-specific decommissioning plan on future land use and repurposing recommendations.

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 (www.pge.com) 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 is available in 16 languages and upgraded outage maps 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. In 2020, the score remained consistent with the previous year.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction Footnote 1
2018 2019 2020
Customer Satisfaction Score 77.3 72.6 72.0
  • 1. To measure customer satisfaction, we use a random-sample, proprietary customer survey that is conducted 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

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.