Assistance Available to Aid Customers Unable to Pay Electricity Bills

August 11, 2006

August 11, 2006

Southern California Edison will work with customers whose electricity bills have soared.

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Aug.11, 2006—Southern California Edison (SCE) is  reminding customers having difficulty paying their electricity bills following the recent heat wave that a variety of assistance programs are available for helping pay bills.

Many electric bills have spiked recently, the result of record-breaking heat, prompting an increased use of air conditioners, and rate increases that took effect earlier this year.  Eligible customers are encouraged to take advantage of the assistance programs.

“The heat wave caused a phenomenal increase in air conditioner use and power consumption by our customers,” said Lynda Ziegler, SCE senior vice president for customer service.  “Customers who used their air conditioners heavily during the heat wave should be prepared to receive higher-than-usual electricity bills.  As long as customers sincerely work with us to make monthly payments, they will not have their service disconnected.”

Following are some of the programs available to assist residential customers with their bills:

  • Qualifying customers can apply for the 20% discounted California Alternate Rates for Energy program.  For more information call (800) 798-5723.
  • The Energy Management Assistance (EMA) program helps income-qualified households conserve energy and reduce their electricity costs.  SCE pays all the costs of purchasing and installing energy-efficient appliances and equipment, which are free to eligible customers.  EMA services include replacing standard light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, weatherizing homes, replacing older refrigerators with new, more efficient units, and window/wall air conditioners and evaporative coolers in regions that experience hot summer temperatures.  For more information call (800) 736-4777.
  • The Family Electric Rate Assistance program offers a discounted rate on the monthly bill to income-qualified customers that exceed their baseline usage by 30%-100%.  To qualify, there must be a minimum of three or more permanent residents in the household and the total household income must fall within the program guidelines.  For more information call (800) 447-6620.
  • Customers requiring electric life-support equipment, or having certain medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, can save money by applying for the Medical Baseline program.  For more information call 800-655-4555.
  • The Low-Income Energy-Efficiency program is offered by the state of California and provides income-qualified households with energy-efficiency services designed to help reduce their energy consumption and bills.  These services are offered at no cost to the qualifying customer. The Home Energy Assistance program provides financial assistance to eligible households to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling dwellings.  More information is available at www.csd.ca.gov/liheap.html or by calling (866) 675-6623.

When customers are having financial troubles and can't pay their bill, they can call SCE 24 hours a day to get help at 800-655-4555.  More information on assistance programs is available at www.sce.com/RebatesandSavings/LowIncome.

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An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.7 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.