PG&E rebate checks bounce due to temporary bank freeze during bankruptcy proceedings

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Customers receiving energy saving rebates from PG&E suffered a rude surprise: their checks bounced.

The bounced checks are tied into PG&E's bankruptcy. Experts said those with rebates coming would have nothing to worry about -- so what happened?

RELATED: PG&E canceling $130 million in worker performance bonuses because of bankruptcy filing

Ruth Gardner has lived in her Redwood City home for more than 30 years. She's one of a handful of homeowners who reached out to 7 On Your Side after her PG&E rebate check bounced.

"They had estimated around $3,400. I thought they were estimating high, but I thought if I get something back, I would be happy," said Ruth.

The amount of the rebate for insulating her home and putting in energy-efficient heating and air, as well as a gas fireplace, turned out to actually be $4,100.

"Wow, that was my reaction. Cool," she recalled thinking at the time.

Everything was cool until that $4,100 check bounced. She was also assessed a $12 dollar return fee.

Others whose checks bounced had received rebates for buying an electric vehicle or putting in a solar heating system. Another customer received a refund check for an overpayment. Most of the bounced checks fell under PG&E's Energy Efficiency Rebates program.

"I happen to go to a neighbor's party down the street and told everybody what had happened, and they all suggested I call 7 On Your Side," said Ruth.
She did and we contacted PG&E. Ruth received immediate word she would get a new check.

RELATED: PG&E Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Here's how it'll affect customers, employees, shareholders

PG&E representative Tamar Sarkissian told us the utility's bank accounts were suspended as part of the reorganization. The freeze lasted just a few days and checks will be reissued if necessary. Bank fees would also be refunded in a form of a bill credit. Sarkissian apologized for the inconvenience.

"To have it resolved in one day I think is pretty fantastic. So it ended on a real high note," Ruth said.

Anyone still with a check issue can call PG&E customer care at 1-800-743-5000, Monday-Friday, 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, 8-6 p.m.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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