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Energy Assistance Programs

There are a number of Federal, State, County-, Municipal-, Utility company-funded and university- or privately-funded programs in California that offer assistance to low-income Californian residents in order to pay their utility bills on an annual basis.  Many of the utility companies in Southern California, such as PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric), SCE (Southern California Edison), SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric), and SoCalGas (Southern California Gas Company), etc.,  have essentially adopted a Whole Neighborhood Approach (WNA) in offering Federal-, State-, and utility company-funded financial assistance programs.  For example, the following are seven Low-Income Energy Assistance/ Efficiency programs offered by most of the utility companies in California: 

  • LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program):  funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Community Services’ Block Grant (CSBG)
  •  WAP or DOE WAP (Weatherization Assistance Program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • EMP (Energy Management Program) funded by Federal, State, County, and utility companies.
  • ESAP (Energy Savings Assistance Program) funded mostly by individual utility companies
  • CARE (California Alternative Rates For Energy) Program funded by individual utility companies
  • FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance) Program funded mostly by individual utility companies
  • Medical Baseline Allowance Program funded mostly by individual utility companies

While LIHEAPs, DOE WAPs and EMPS are mostly administered by the State of California’s Department of Community Services and Development (CSD:  800-433-4327), others may be mostly funded and administered by the individual utility companies.   CSD has received $185 million in DOE WAP funding under the 2009 Recovery Act.  Energy Assistance programs come under a complex system with multiple funding sources from multiple layers of governmental and private agencies.  For example, CAPOC may weatherize a home and bill different components of the work performed to various relevant agencies, including applying for CARE or FERA on behalf of the participants.

California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)

Phone:     800-342-5397 (LADWP); 800-427-2200 (SoCalGas); 800-433-4327 (CSD)


Description:  Through the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program eligible customers receive a 20% discount on electric and natural gas bills.Customers may also be eligible for CARE if they areenrolled inpublic assistance programs such as Medicaid/Medi-Cal, Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), Healthy Families A & B, National School Lunch’s Free Lunch Program (NSL), Food Stamps/SNAP, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Tribal TANF.  CARE is essentially funded by the utility companies.


12640 Knott St., Garden Grove, CA 92841
Phone:    800-660-4232, 714-532-3595 (Financial Stability Program)
Website: www.capoc.org

Description:  CAPOC has received over 4.5 million in additional funds from the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) in addition to $6 million of additional funds from the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE WAP) resulting from President Obama’s 2009 ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the 2009 Recovery Act).  The CSBG program is a nationwide network of community action agencies.  These agencies fight poverty by providing services that help low-income people get the skills, knowledge, and motivation they need to become self-sufficient. The CSBG program also provides low-income people with immediate life necessities such as food, shelter, health care and more.  The purpose of DOE WAP is to increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or occupied by low-income Californians, reduce the amount these families spend on energy, and improve their health and safety.  Preference is given to low-income people who are particularly at risk, such as the elderly, disabled, families with children, and those who use a lot of energy.  CAPOC operates LIHEAP, EMP, and WAP programs in OC.  Most of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA 2009 Recovery Act) funding will end in March of 2012.  However, LIHEAP and Weatherization programs have been in existence for over 40 years, long before ARRA.  Likewise, Energy Assistance Programs for Low-Income individuals will contin;ue.  

DOE WAP (Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program)

Phone:    800-736-4777

Description:  A low

EMP (Energy Management Program)

Phone:    800-736-4777

Description:  The goal of EMP is to strategically plan for improved Energy Efficiency in order to reduce overall energy demand.  This may be achieved by exploring Alternative Energy Supplies, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficient new construction, Increased Vehicle Efficiency, etc.  A low-income eligible customer who has a working refrigerated, air conditioning or washer may be eligible to receive a new energy-efficient unit to replace the older one.  This program may be subsidized by the U.S. Department of Energy and partially funded by the State and/or County governments, as well as by the utility companies.  When the new energy-saving appliance is delivered, the agency making the delivery will also remove the old appliance to ensure proper disposal/ recycling at no charge to the customer.


Phone:     800-933-9677 (PG&E); 866-675-6623 (SCE); 800-427-2200 (SoCalGas); 800-433-4327 (CSD)


Description:  The Energy Savings Assistance Program provides no-cost weatherization services to low-income eligible households.  Services provided include attic insulation, energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient furnaces, weather-stripping, caulking, low-flow showerheads, water heater blankets, and door and building envelope repairs which reduce air infiltration.  ESAP is essentially funded by the utility companies.

FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance)

Phone:      800-798-5723; 866-743-2273 (PG&E); 800-655-4555 (SCE); 800-433-4327 (CSD)

Website:  www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Low+Income/fera.htm

Description:  The FERA 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 3 or more permanent residents in the household and the total household income must fall within the program guidelines. FERA is essentially funded by the utility companies.


GAF (Gas Assistance Fund)

Phone:     800-736-4777


Description:  The Gas Assistance Fund (GAF) may be able to provide low-income customers with a grant of up to $100 per year.  Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and United Way, together with its employees, volunteers, and nonprofit, community based organizations have been offering financial assistance to income qualified customers with a grant to pay their SoCalGas bill between February and April of each year (until the annual donation funds are depleted). 

HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program

Aka Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (See LIHEAP Below)


Aka HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program)
Phone:    800-692-7462; 800-433-4327 (CSD); 800-342-5397 (LADWP); 800-660-4232 (CAPOC)
Website: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/liheap

Description:  LIHEAP helps low-income families to pay their heating bills. It may be funded bya cash grant sent directly to the utility company, or a CrisisGrant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.  In Orange County, the HEAP program is operated by the Community Action Partnership of OC (CAPOC: See Above).  The program is operated by LADWP in Los Angeles County.



1734 E. 4th St., Vernon, CA 0058

Phone:    800-342-5397 (800-DIAL-DWP); 800-544-4498 (Water Efficiency Program)
Website: www.ladwp.com

Description:  LADWP offers a variety of rebates, cash incentives and energy-saving programs as follows:

  • LIHEAP (Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)
  • Consumer Rebate Program has millions of dollars available for customers who purchase qualifying Energy Star refrigerators, air conditioners, pool pumps, windows, and washers. 
  • EMP (Energy Management Program):  The Low Income Refrigerator Exchange Program will replace your old refrigerator with an energy-saving new refrigerator free of charges to low-income LA residents
  • The Water Efficiency program distributes free showerheads, bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators to help to conserve water usage. 
  • The RETIRE (REfrigerator Turn-In and REcycle) Program pays $35 to pick up “spare” refrigerator or freezer that causes unneeded energy consumption.  
  • The SIP (Solar Incentive Program), an EMP (Energy Management Program),  provides a one-time incentive payment to encourage LA consumers to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their property. 
  • In addition, the Green Power for a Green LA Program, an EMP (Energy Management Program),  offers incentives with the purchasing of renewable energy in order to promote energy efficiency, conserve water, Recycle & Reuse, while Improving vital community infrastructure.


Phone:     866-743-2273 (PG&E); 800-684-8123 (SCE); 877-238-0092 (SoCalGas); 800-433-4327 (CSD)

Website:  www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Low+Income/fera.htm

https://www.sce.com/wps/portal/home/residential/assistance/medical-baseline/!ut/p/b0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOINLdwdPTyDDTzdXU0dDTydDCxDTH3MjI0szfWDU_P0C7IdFQGaLXPs/ (SCE)

                 http://www.socalgas.com/for-your-home/assistance-programs/medical-allowance.shtml (SoCalGas)

Description:  This program allows for additional quantities of energy at the lowest (baseline) price for residential customers. To qualify for Medical Baseline, a California-licensed physician must certify that a full-time resident in your home has one of these medical conditions: Life-support equipment needed while at home, a paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic or multiple sclerosis patient with special heating or cooling needs, etc.


Pacific Gas AND Electric (PG&E)

Phone:    800-933-99677 (Emergency Payment); 800-743-5000; 866-743-2273
Website: www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/financialassistance

Description:  PG&E offers the following financial assistance programs to low-income customers:

  • ESAP (Energy Savings Assistance Program) provides free energy-efficient appliances and equipment (including installation) in order to help clients to lower electricity bills. 
  • The weatherization program offers compact fluorescent lights, caulking, showerhead, water heater blanket and minor home repairs/improvement to help consumers to conserve energy. 
  • The Medical Baseline Allowance Program is not income based; it provides a special allowance for residential customers who have special energy needs related to a medical condition. 
  • CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) program offers a 20% discount on monthly utility bills for households with more than three residents
  • FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance) program
  • The REACH (Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help) program s for low-income customers who experience severe, uncontrollable or unplanned hardships and are unable to pay for their energy needs.
  • The BBP (Balanced Payment Plan) program allows consumers to pay the same amount every month by averaging their household energy costs for the last 12 months.



Project APPLE (Assisting Pasadena People with Limited Emergencies)

Phone:     626-744-4005
Website: www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/waterandpower;                           ww2.cityofpasadena.net/waterandpower/WeCanHelp (Financial Assistance Programs)

Description:  PWP offers three income-qualified financial assistance programs for paying electric bills, a one-time grant, and a residential medical equipment-related program to help offset associated electricity costs

  • The Residential EUAP (Electric Utility Assistance) will credit the electric account of a low-income resident $7.50 (after taxes) each month.
  • The Pasadena Cares Program will credit the electric account of a low-income resident, age 62+ or permanently disabled, $7.50 (after taxes) and a credit of the Public Benefits Charge each month.
  • The Pasadena Residential Cares PLUS Program will credit the electric account of a Very Low-Income participant, age 62+ or permanently disabled, $7.50 (after taxes), the Public Benefit Charge and Utility Users Tax.
  • The Project APPLE (Assisting Pasadena People with Limited Emergencies) provides a one-time grant of up to $100 per year to help eligible low-income, disabled customers, or seniors living on Social Security.
  • The Pasadena Medical Assistance program is not an income-qualified program.  PWP will credit the electric account $7.50 (after taxes) each month if the participant must use medically necessary equipment such as apnea monitors, aerosol tents, electric nerve stimulators, hemodialysis machines, etc.  The equipment must be plugged in and not battery-operated.


1851 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, CA(714-870-3225)
Phone:    800-655-4555 or 800-655-1911 (24-hour Customer Service); 866-675-6623 (Emergency Payment)

Website: www.sce.com; www.sce.com/residential/highbill-helper/financial.htm

Description:  SCE offers the following financial assistance plans to its low-income customers: 

  • The United Way Energy Assistance Fund works with many community-based organizations to assist with utility payments; call 2-1-1 to find out the local organization nearest to where assistance is needed. 
  • The ESAP (Energy Savings Assistance Program) provides free energy-efficient appliances and equipment (including installation) in order to help clients to lower electricity bills. 
  • The Medical Baseline Program provides low-priced (“BASELINE”) energy for specific medical life-support equipment and specific illnesses through SCE’s Medical Baseline Allocation Program. 
  • The CARE(California Alternate Rates for Energy) offer low-income clients a 20% discount of the monthly electric bill
  • FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance Program) offers a discounted rate on monthly SCE bill if the monthly SCE bills exceed the baseline usage by at least 30% (FERA program)
  • Level Pay Plan helps smooth out the ups and downs of monthly gas bill by averaging annual gas consumption and costs over a 12-month period.
  • Residential Summer Discount Program provides credit for customers who permit Edison to install and use a device that allows Edison to remotely turn off the customer’s air conditioner at high-peak hours.  The amount of credit received is dependent upon how often the customer lallows Edison to use the device.

Southern California Gas(SoCalGas)

2191 E. Birch St., Brea, CA 92821

Phone:     800-427-2200
Websitewww.socalgas.com/residential/assistance (Assistance Programs)

Description:  Southern California Gas Company offers the following Assistance Programs: 

  • CARE program for a 20% rate discount.
  • ESAP (Energy Savings Assistance Program):  offers no-cost energy-saving home improvements and furnace repair or replacement services for qualified limited-income renters and homeowners.
  • LIHEAP (Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program)
  • GAF (Gas Assistance Fund) offers low-income LA residents a grant of up to $100 in bill assistance per year.
  • Medical Baseline Allowance program