East Bay family of 7 fears losing PG&E during the holidays as state assistance stalls

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- These are anxious times for an Antioch family of seven, facing losing their heat going into this rainy Christmas weekend.

Most frustrating for this family is that it doesn't have to be this way. The state has already offered to pays its utility bills. So what's the holdup?

Edwina Johnson plays a reading game with her granddaughter.

The electricity needed to power that game on the computer could soon be cut off, along with her heat.

"I can't sleep at night," said Johnson. "I wake up in the middle of the night worried. Are they going to cut our power off?"

RELATED: Data exposes racial inequities in Bay Area housing market

Johnson's husband lost his job at Uber and for six months the couple lived on Social Security alone.

That set them back financially, but the family is determined to keep their rented home and has pooled resources to pay their rent.

"But we all just strained up and did it because my daughter had a real bad feeling about this. She said 'Mama, we're going to risk getting put out,"' Johnson recalls her daughter saying.

That left them almost nothing to pay basic necessities, like their utilities.

They turned to the State's Emergency Rent Assistance Program for help.

VIDEO: How to keep your electric bills from going up amid COVID-19 pandemic
EMBED More News Videos

Tips to keep your electric bills from going up amid COVID-19 pandemic.



She applied in July asking for help to pay their PG&E, Comcast, water and garbage bill... but five months later, they still hadn't received an answer.

The family lost its garbage service when it got too far behind.

"I am concerned about the rats. That's why I'm trying to see what they're going to do about payment," she said.

Running out of options, the family turned to 7 On Your Side for help.

We pressed their case with the state and on December 1, they received a notice approving payments to both PG&E and Xfinity.

RELATED: FCC approves $50 monthly internet subsidies for low-income households during pandemic

But three weeks have passed and still no payments.

"It's really sad for me that someone who really needs help like we do have to go through all these things and not get the help we need," Johnson said.

We reached out to the state numerous times for a comment for this story and have yet to hear back.

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

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE! 7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.