The Bayview neighborhood has one of the highest rates of power shutoffs in The City, according to data from PG&E. (Courtesy photo)

PG&E will not shut off power for failure to pay during coronavirus emergency

About 15,000 customers in SF have electric service disconnected annually for non-payment

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced that it will not cut off customers power for lack of payment during the coronavirus emergency.

The decision to suspend service disconnections for non-payment went into effect Thursday and applies to both residential and commercial customers. The suspension remains in effect “until further notice.”

PG&E’s Chief Customer Officer and Senior Vice President Laurie Giammona said in a statement that the company wanted “to provide some relief from the stress and financial challenges many are facing during this worldwide, public health crisis.”

“We understand that many of our customers may experience a personal financial strain due to the slowdown in the economy related to the pandemic,” she said.

The San Francisco Examiner previously reported that PG&E disconnects the service to about 15,000 customers in San Francisco annually, disproportionately impacting neighborhoods where more people of color live.

There were 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus as of Friday morning in San Francisco. The City announced Thursday all public schools would close for the next three weeks.

City Controller Ben Rosenfield said earlier this week that the spread of the coronavirus is having a significant impact on the local economy, impacting many San Francisco businesses and their employees and could cost The City “tens of millions” in tax revenue this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Gatherings of more than 1,000 people were prohibited by city officials this week and Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the cancellation of all events of 250 people or more as officials seek to slow the spread of the disease.

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