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CA Low Income Gas Consumers Given Added Protection by CPUC

In responses to pleas it heard earlier in the month from the nonprofit social service sector, the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday approved added protection for qualified low-income utility customers against this winter's expected high natural gas costs. The CPUC made significant changes to two of the state's major low-income customer programs.

Changes were approved unanimously for both the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) programs. The former provides discounted rates; the latter weatherization and appliance replacement services for qualifying low-income customers.

Commissioner Dian Grueneich, who spearheaded the effort over a brief three-week period to alter the programs, called the decision "the result of a true collaboration between all of the stakeholders. It shows that when we work together in a spirit of cooperation, we truly can make a difference in the every day lives of Californians."

Changes in the existing programs include:

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