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

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Friday, December 24, 2021
Bay Area family of 7 fears losing PG&E service during holidays
The State of California approved assistance to pay utilities for a struggling Antioch family, but the money still hasn't come in.

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?"

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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.

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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.

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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.

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