By Tracy Correa
FRESNO — Customers visiting the office of the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno last week received some extra information to help them improve their household finances — from saving on their energy bills to banking and more.
It was all part of Financial Literacy Week events held March 20-24 at Consulate of Mexico offices throughout the United States and aimed at providing resources to customers to help them with financial management decision making.
PG&E has served and engaged with Hispanic communities for more than 100 years. In turn, they have played a major role in determining how the energy company delivers services to its customers. Through advertising in Spanish language media, appearing at regional cultural events and working with local groups, the energy company shares important information on safety, rate options and financial assistance with the diverse communities. Additionally, PG&E has a dedicated Spanish customer service line 1-800-660-6789 and customers can request their monthly bill in Spanish.
The events provide time for energy conversations. For example, talking to customers like Juan Villagomez of Madera about programs and energy-saving tips. He stopped by a PG&E table stocked with pamphlets and brochures in both English and Spanish to ask what steps he could take to lower his energy bill.
It was simple question and Margina Flores, a PG&E customer service representative, had an easy answer after he told her about his thermostat setting: “Lower your thermostat a few degrees,” she told him in Spanish.
She explained to him that just a few degrees could make a real difference on his energy usage and bill.
Luis Martinez, of Bakersfield, stopped by with his family to ask about PG&E’s Medical Baseline Allowance, a financial assistance program for customers with qualifying medical needs.
Martinez explained in Spanish that he has two children born with congenital ear defects who require hearing aids. He also has children with asthma, requiring additional medical equipment.
“It would be good if I can qualify for the [Medical Baseline] program,” he said after talking with Flores and taking home paperwork.
In addition to the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno — which serves residents in Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties — PG&E took part in a Financial Literacy Week event in San Jose. In both instances, PG&E provided representatives who can speak to customers in Spanish as well as English.
According to the Mexican Consulate, the goal of the event was to help community members better understand the financial system of the U.S. and provide a safe place for them to learn about saving money and the importance of financial management so that they can buy homes and create wealth for themselves, their families and their communities.
For Carmen Gonzalez this included finding out more about PG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA), a program designed to help qualified customers with energy-saving improvements to their homes at no charge.
Asked if the PG&E information was helpful, the Fresno woman responded in Spanish: “Yes, Yes.”
Customers also learned about the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. The program provides qualified households deep discounts on energy bills, however nearly 1 in 10 eligible customers is not signed up for the program.
This is the second year that PG&E has participated in Financial Literacy Week events in partnership with the Consulate of Mexico.
Email Tracy Correa Lopez at Tracy.Correa@pge.com.