The prices that the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) and other utilities in the region pay for natural gas and electricity delivered to customers rose significantly during the 2022-2023 winter months. Although these energy market prices have now declined, utilities customers were impacted by extraordinarily high winter bills.
The City is providing some relief from high utility bills through supplemental financial assistance and support for residents who may be struggling to pay their bill at this time.
Rebates for High Winter Energy Costs
CPAU residential customers will soon see a "Winter Rebate" on their utility bills for the extraordinarily high gas and electric utility costs from the recent winter.
Rebates for High Winter Energy Costs
What is the Winter Rebate Program?
On April 10, 2023, the Palo Alto City Council approved for the City to issue residential utilities customers a one-time rebate due to the extraordinarily high gas and electric utility costs in the winter of 2023. The intent is to provide financial relief to community members who may be struggling to pay utility bills due to the unexpectedly high winter energy costs.
The rebate amount is calculated based on a customer’s January gas and/or electric bill costs. The rebate will be automatically applied as a credit to bills in April or May depending upon the meter reading and billing schedule. It will appear on the utility bill as "Winter Rebate.” No action is required by customers to receive this rebate.
Who is eligible for the rebate?
All current CPAU residential electric and gas customers who received utility service between January 1, to January 31, 2023.
- Commercial customers are not eligible
- Residential customers who have terminated services or moved out are not eligible
How much will I receive?
The one-time Winter Rebate amount will be calculated based on a customer's January electric and/or gas utility bill.
January 2023 Gas Bill Costs
|January 2023 Gas Rebate Amount
|Greater than $800
|$400 to $800
|Less than $400
|January 2023 Electric Residential Bill Costs
||January 2023 Electric Rebate Amount
|Greater than $500
|$300 to $500
|Less than $300
How and when will I receive the rebate?
The rebate will be automatically applied as a credit on your utility bill in April or May, depending on your meter reading and billing schedule. It will appear on the bill as "Winter Rebate". No action is required by customers to receive this rebate.
I am in the Rate Assistance Program, do I qualify for a rebate?
Customers who are enrolled in the Rate Assistance Program (RAP) or have a past due balance of greater than 180 days will automatically receive an additional $100 rebate for electric service and $100 for gas service. This will be applied with the Winter Rebate in the April to May utility bill, depending on the meter reading and billing schedule. No action is required by these customers to receive this additional rebate.
Other Financial Assistance and Resources:
- Extended Payment Plan Arrangements: The City is offering payment plan arrangements for those who need extra time paying their winter gas and electric bills. Payment can be extended for 6-8 months.
- Free Energy Advisor Assessment: The City is providing free assessments from our home energy advisor, the Home Efficiency Genie, to help people reduce consumption and save money.
High Bill Financial Assistance
What is the High Bill Financial Assistance rebate?
In addition to the one-time Winter Rebate that is being provided to all active CPAU residential utility customers, the City is offering another rebate option to residents experiencing financial hardship. Residents who do not qualify for the utilities Rate Assistance Program (RAP) but have lost work or income or experienced high medical expenses between January 1 to January 31, 2023 can receive an additional rebate of $100 for electric service and $100 for gas service.
Residents must apply for this supplemental “High Bill Financial Assistance” rebate online at cityofpaloalto.org/HighBillFinancialAssistance or by contacting Utilities Customer Service directly at UtilitiesCustomerService@cityofpaloalto.org or (650) 329-2161.
Who is eligible for the High Bill Financial Assistance rebate?
Customers who qualify for the additional High Bill Financial Assistance must:
- Be an active residential customer
- Have no utility arrearage (past due balance) greater than 180 days
- Not be a participant in the Rate Assistance Program (RAP)
- Demonstrate recent financial hardship such as loss of employment or income, reduction in work, or high medical expenses
What is the Rate Assistance Program (RAP)?
Rate Assistance is a monthly discount of 25% for qualifying customers based on financial or medical needs. To see if you do or do not qualify for Rate Assistance, visit the Rate Assistance Program (RAP).
How do I demonstrate financial hardship?
Accepted documents to prove financial hardship will include:
- Unemployment letters
- Most recent tax return
- Medical bills due to higher use of utilities
- Three months of bank statements
Financial Assistance Programs
If you are on a limited income, experiencing financial hardship or have high medical expenses, you may be eligible for help on utility bill costs.
- Rate Assistance Program (RAP): Residents struggling to pay their utilities bills may qualify for our Rate Assistance Program, which provides a 25% discount on gas and electricity charges and a 20% discount on storm drain service fees.
- Residential Energy Assistance Program (REAP): You may be able to reduce energy and water costs by having us help you improve your home's efficiency through the Residential Energy Assistance Program.
- ProjectPLEDGE: CPAU's ProjectPLEDGE may be able to help you with one-time assistance. Please call Utilities Customer Service at (650) 329-2161 to determine your eligibility.
- California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP): The California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) offers financial assistance for California energy utility customers to help reduce past due energy bill balances that increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about how to read your bill here(PDF, 1MB).