Triplicate Staff

Thousands of Pacific Power customers in Northern California may qualify for a 20 percent discount on their electric bill.

Already almost 10,000 Pacific Power customers with low to moderate household incomes benefit from the program established in 1989 by the California Legislature, the California Alternative Rates for Energy program. Pacific Power estimates that thousands more households in Del Norte, Modoc, Shasta and Siskiyou counties qualify for the program, but haven't yet applied.

"A lot more people could take advantage of this program and save money year-round," said Monte Mendenhall, Pacific Power regional community manager. "We want to encourage customers to look closely at the income eligibility chart to see if they qualify for these savings. Many people may not realize that they qualify, and helping raise awareness and opportunity is what we're trying to do here."

Most participants save about $150 a year, depending on electricity use. The 20 percent discount is applied to participants' bills year-round, helping people with both their summer cooling and winter heating costs.

The CARE program is funded by a small surcharge on non-CARE customer bills, as required by the California Public Utilities Commission and the Legislature.

For one-person households, the program is available to those whose income is less than $1,915 a month. Two-person households are eligible with a monthly maximum income of $2,585, three-person households, $3,255, and four-person households, $3,925.

To request an application form, call toll-free 888-221-7070 or find one on Pacific Power's Web site,