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SCE Calls on Remaining Eligible Low-Income Customers to Enroll in Discount Electricity Rates

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With approximately 85% of its eligible customers already signed up, Southern California Edison officials today again issued an appeal to its low-income customers to enroll in a state-sponsored program that offers a significant discount o­n utility rates.

Called the California Alternate Rates for Energy program, CARE gives eligible customers a 20% discount o­n utility bills.

To increase participation in the CARE program, SCE in recent years has stepped up its regular outreach and publicity efforts through an extensive multilingual radio and print ad campaign, direct mail notifications, and by inserting CARE applications and information in customer bills.  Also, acting o­n their own personal commitment, SCE employees across the company’s 50,000-square-mile service area have volunteered thousands of hours, including many weekend hours, to inform consumers about CARE, primarily through faith-based venues.

“While we’re pleased that participating customers already have saved almost $690 million since the program’s inception, our goal of having every eligible customers enrolled is still unmet,” said Frank Quevedo, SCE vice president for equal opportunity who has coordinated outreach efforts in local neighborhoods.

Program eligibility is based o­n household size and recently revised income levels.

• For a single- or two-person household, the annual income level cannot exceed $24,200;
• For a three-person household, the maximum is $28,400;
• For a four-person household, $34,200;
• For a five-person household, $40,000; and
• For a six-person household, $45,800.

For households with more than six persons, add $5,800 per person.

Established by the CPUC in 1989 to help financially strapped ratepayers, the CARE program is available to customers living in individual residences, nonprofit group-living facilities (transitional housing, short- or long-term care facilities, group homes for physically or mentally disabled persons, homeless shelters, hospices and women’s shelters), and agricultural-employee housing.

 “We’re committed to doing all that we can to reach these customers,” said Quevedo.  “Many of the eligible customers speak o­nly limited English and aren’t always aware of the potential savings this program can provide.”

Customers can call a toll-free number (800-798-5723) to obtain CARE information and to request an application.  SCE phone representatives can provide information in Spanish, Chinese, Cambodian, Korean, and Vietnamese.

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