November 18, 2008

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 18, 2008 – Southern California Edison (SCE) understands that in this time of economic volatility some customers may be having trouble paying their electric bills. So SCE is offering several helpful options. In addition to special rates for income-qualified individuals and families, the utility also offers rebates for using energy-efficient appliances, and provides hundreds of tips that can save energy in homes and businesses, which can lower electric bills.

Linda Yamauchi, SCE manager, Consumer Affairs, says that the very first thing a customer should do if he or she realizes there might be a problem paying their bill is to contact the utility.

“There are so many ways we can help people – but we don’t know there is a problem unless they contact us.  Customers can go to our Web site to learn about our programs and services or to request an extension of their payment date.  If customers notify us early on that they’re having trouble, it’s much easier for us to help arrange a payment plan or direct them toward other resources,” Yamauchi said.

SCE encourages customers to learn about these money-saving tools:

  • “High Bill Helper” on the Web site has bill payment options, financial assistance information, energy efficiency tips, and an online, interactive feature that shows consumers where the biggest energy hogs are in the home, and how to tame them.
  • Two Programs, California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA), offer reduced rates for income-qualified customers.
  • Rate Relief Assistance Programs: SCE offers bill payment assistance of up to $100, once a year, to income-qualified customers through this program. To receive assistance, customers must make a request through a community-based agency. To locate an agency, call SCE at (800) 205-8596 or visit Utility payment assistance may also be available through the state-funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Call (866) 675-6623 for more information, or to locate a HEAP service provider.
  • Rebates: Customers can earn “free” money for taking energy-saving steps: The Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program pays customers $50 to haul away an old, working, inefficient refrigerator or freezer, which can cost them an extra $300 a year to operate. During the warmer months, the Summer Discount Plan offers up to $200 credit on summer bills for signing up to have the air conditioner compressor cycled off during an energy emergency.
  • Free Home Energy Survey: A home energy audit tells customers how they can begin saving on their bills immediately and what simple steps they can take to save even more money. Surveys can be done online, in the home, and over the phone.

Customers are given 19 calendar days to pay their bill and then it is considered past due. If no arrangements have been made and the bill remains unpaid, a reminder notice will be sent out. If the bill still remains unpaid after that, then power may be shut off 45 days past the bill’s due date. A deposit may be required in addition to a reconnect fee of $26 to have the power restored. Customers can make payment arrangements by calling (800) 950-2356.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is the largest electric utility in California, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.