SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wildfire Assistance Program funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has distributed more than $25 million to people displaced by the 2017 Northern California wildfires and the 2018 Camp fire. The $100 million fund, approved by the judge in PG&E’s Chapter 11 cases, is intended to help those who are either uninsured or need assistance with alternate living expenses or other urgent needs. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15, 2019.
“There is still time to file a claim with the Wildfire Assistance Program. This fund was set up to help people displaced by the 2017 and 2018 fires with unmet needs, particularly people currently without adequate shelter. This is especially critical now, as we move into the colder, wetter winter months. We urge people who need this help to apply for assistance by the deadline this Friday,” said Cathy Yanni, the independent third-party administrator overseeing the program and disbursements.
As of Nov. 12, the Wildfire Assistance Program has received more than 16,000 claims for assistance. The program administrator has paid more than 7,000 claims totaling more than $25 million. The vast majority of the disbursements thus far have been made to people displaced by the Camp fire, but those impacted by the 2017 Northern California wildfires are also eligible for assistance and should apply if eligible.
The administrator and her staff are working with claimants, attorneys, city and county agencies, civic organizations and support groups to help people affected by the wildfires apply for and receive this assistance as soon as possible.
"We remain committed to helping wildfire victims and their communities recover and rebuild. We know that this is a painful process, and that many continue to have unmet needs including the most basic necessities like a safe place to live. We deeply appreciate the work of the administrator to ensure this program is reaching the people who need it most in their time of need," said Bill Johnson, Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation.
The Wildfire Assistance Program is separate from the PG&E Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Submitting a claim to the Program is different than submitting a claim in the bankruptcy cases. Anyone who has submitted a claim in the bankruptcy cases may also submit a claim to the Wildfire Assistance Program.
More information, including the Program claim form, is available at www.norcalwildfireassistanceprogram.com/. Final payments are expected to be made by the end of March 2020. The administrator is actively reviewing claims.
Applicants can request support for "Basic Unmet Needs," which will provide each qualifying household with $5,000 ($2,500 individually for renters) for needs such as water, food, prescriptions, medical supplies and equipment, infant formula and diapers, personal hygiene items, and transportation fuels beyond what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) covered in the days immediately following the declared disasters.
Those who receive basic payments may also apply for a "Supplemental Unmet Needs" payment. These funds will be available, however, only after all basic payments have been issued. The administrator has been empowered to approve supplemental payments for households which currently face extreme or extraordinary circumstances.
To qualify for the payments, applicants' primary residence must have been within the boundary of either the 2017 Northern California wildfires or 2018 Camp fire at the time of those events. Applicants also must establish proof of identity and certify that they are not requesting payments for an expense already paid for by FEMA.
PG&E is providing $100 million for this fund from the company's cash reserves and will not seek cost recovery from its customers.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and www.pge.com/news.