If you need help with your SCE bill, there are many government programs and nonprofit organizations that can help! You need to act fast though because some of these programs have limited funding.
In this post, we’re going to break down the government programs, company initiatives and more that can help you when you can’t afford your Southern California Edison bill.
Navigating the costs of utilities can be challenging, particularly for families and individuals facing financial hardships. Fortunately, several government-assisted programs are available to help manage your Southern California Edison (SCE) bill.
These programs are designed to offer financial relief, reduce energy costs, and promote energy efficiency for eligible households. From rate reduction programs to energy-saving improvements, understanding these options can provide significant support in managing your electricity expenses.
California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE)
The California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) program offers a 20-35% discount on residential electric bills for low income customers. If you need help with your SCE bills, you’ll be glad to know that SCE customers receive a higher discount of 30-35% because of the size of their utility provider.
Eligibility is primarily based on the household’s income and size, aligning with federal poverty guidelines. You must meet income limits or participate in one of these means-tested programs in order to qualify:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Stamps/SNAP
- Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
- Healthy Families A & B
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- National School Lunch’s Free Lunch Program (NSL)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Tribal TANF
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
Applying for CARE is straightforward. You can apply for CARE on the SCE website right now! The application process requires proof of income, and once approved, discounts are applied to the electricity bill automatically. Recertification is required periodically to ensure continued eligibility.
Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA)
For households with slightly higher incomes that exceed the CARE eligibility limits, the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) program offers a reduced electric rate. FERA is targeted at families of three or more, providing relief by discounting a portion of their electricity usage. You could receive up to 18% off your SCE bill with this discount!
Eligibility for FERA is determined by household size and income. Generally, you need to have a household income that is at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to qualify.
You can apply for FERA on the SCE website or via mail, or by phone through SCE. Once approved, the discounted rate is applied directly to the household’s SCE bill, offering ongoing financial relief.
Energy Savings Assistance Program
The Energy Savings Assistance Program provides no-cost energy efficiency improvements to low income households, helping to reduce energy consumption and lower bills. Eligible customers can receive a variety of services, including insulation installation, weatherproofing, and energy-efficient lighting, which contribute to long-term savings.
Eligibility is based on the household’s income level, with criteria similar to those of the CARE program.
Interested individuals can apply through SCE, which will conduct an assessment to determine which energy-saving measures are appropriate for the home. The program not only assists in reducing immediate energy costs but also promotes environmental sustainability.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is a federally funded program designed to assist low income households with their energy bills, offering financial assistance for both heating and cooling expenses. It provides one-time payments directly to utility companies or as direct assistance to eligible participants facing emergency situations, such as disconnection notices.
Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, household size, and whether the household is facing an energy emergency.
SCE Assistance Programs
Southern California Edison (SCE) offers a range of assistance programs aimed at helping customers manage their energy costs and maintain access to essential electricity services. These programs are designed to accommodate various needs, from financial hardships to medical requirements, ensuring that support is available for those who need it most. Whether you’re looking to level out your bill payments over time, need help with past due balances, or require a discount due to medical equipment needs, SCE has options that may help.
Arrearage Management Plan
The Arrearage Management Plan (AMP) is a program designed to help eligible residential customers reduce or eliminate past due balances on their electricity bills. Participants agree to make consistent, manageable payments on their current bills, and for every on-time payment, a portion of their outstanding arrearage is forgiven. This program is particularly beneficial for customers who have accumulated large balances and are seeking a way to regain financial stability.
Eligibility for the AMP typically requires customers to have a certain amount of debt on their SCE account and demonstrate a history of financial hardship. To apply, customers should contact SCE directly, either through their customer service line or by visiting the SCE website, where they can find more detailed application instructions and eligibility requirements.
Budget Billing evens out your electricity payments throughout the year, based on your average annual usage. This program helps customers avoid seasonal peaks in their bills, making household budgeting easier. Every few months, your account is reviewed, and your payment amount may be adjusted to reflect your actual usage, ensuring that there are no surprises at the end of the year.
All residential customers with a good payment history are eligible for Budget Billing. Enrollment can typically be done through SCE’s website or by contacting customer service. There’s no cost to enroll, and it can be a practical way to manage your energy expenses.
Emergency Assistance Fund
The Emergency Assistance Fund provides one-time financial assistance to customers facing temporary financial hardships, such as those caused by unexpected emergencies or natural disasters. This fund is designed to help prevent electricity disconnection for those who are struggling to pay their bill due to circumstances beyond their control. You can receive up to $200 in assistance from this fund.
Eligibility is often determined based on income, the nature of the financial hardship, and available funding. Customers interested in applying for assistance from the Emergency Assistance Fund should reach out to SCE or a designated community assistance agency partnering with SCE.
Medical Baseline Allowance
The Medical Baseline Allowance program offers additional electricity at a lower rate to customers who, or whose family members, require power for life-sustaining medical devices. This can include equipment like oxygen concentrators, motorized wheelchairs, or other energy-dependent medical and mobility devices.
To be eligible, customers must have a qualifying medical condition verified by a licensed health care provider. The application process involves completing a Medical Baseline application, which must be certified by the health care provider and submitted to SCE. There’s no additional cost to participate in the program, but eligibility requirements must be recertified periodically.
Payment Arrangement Plans
SCE’s Payment Arrangement Plans allow customers who are behind on their bills to make manageable payments over time, helping them avoid disconnection. These plans are tailored to the customer’s financial situation, offering a flexible approach to clearing outstanding balances.
Eligibility for a payment arrangement depends on the customer’s account status and history. Customers can apply for a payment arrangement through the SCE website or by speaking with a customer service representative, who can help set up a plan that fits their needs.
Summer Discount Plan
The Summer Discount Plan offers customers a chance to save on their energy bills by allowing SCE to remotely turn off or cycle their air conditioning during peak demand times in exchange for a discount. This program helps manage the grid during high usage periods and offers financial incentives to participants.
Residential and business customers with operational central air conditioning units are eligible. Enrollment is voluntary and can be done through SCE’s website or customer service. Participants can choose from different levels of participation, affecting the amount of the discount and the extent of AC cycling during peak times.
Southern California Edison is well aware of how quickly utility bills can grow, and the company has a few programs and options for people who need help with bills. Some of these strategies offer short-term relief, while others are meant to help those whose incomes are low and who can’t really spare extra cash.
If you need help with your SCE bills, there are many resources available for you. From ongoing discounts to one-time assistance funds, these programs can help you cut costs, avoid disconnection and stay current on your SCE bill. Look into these programs and follow the instructions in our article to apply today!