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PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
#1
PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
My California power company just reached out to me to give me a free battery for my CPAP. There's more information on this PG&E site. This flyer explains

Quote:If you are enrolled in our Medical Baseline Program and live in a High Fire-Threat District or have experienced two or more Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) outages since 2020, you may qualify.

I qualified because they know I have a CPAP and because I'm in Grass Valley, CA where the power goes out a lot. There is no low income requirement (anymore), anyone with a medical need in a flaky power area qualifies. She asked if I had a generator and I said I did. That would disqualify me, but then she strongly suggested that if I just didn't want to run my generator at night I'd still qualify for a battery. Fair enough, running a generator just for a CPAP is awfully expensive.

The other piece of this is I'm already on medical baseline billing so PG&E knew I'd have a medical need. I posted previously about getting medical baseline; takes a note from your doctor, saves about $1 / day or so and gets you special notification for power problems.

They will hand-deliver (!) the battery to me in a few weeks, I'll update when I get it. They asked me a couple of questions which were basically about sizing the battery I needed; whether it had a humidifier, the volts and amps. I didn't have the electrical specs so she said she'd just put me down for the default which apparently is big.


(The context here is PG&E has taken to shutting off power entirely for hours or days at a time when there's a significant fire threat because their poorly maintained equipment keeps setting California on fire. I asked the agent if there was a specific legal requirement driving this program and she said she didn't know of one, that they were just being proactive.)
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#2
RE: PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
PG&E has contacted us also. I've returned their call but not met made contact. Our primary residence is in a retirement community. PG&E's "service address" is for our cabin which does experience periodic outages. My wife and I are both on CPAP and my wife is on supplemental oxygen. Question for OP - do you think we will be disqualified because the service address is not a primary residence?
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#3
RE: PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
If you spend the night with your CPAP at your cabin sometimes and you have PG&E service there I think you should qualify. No idea what their rules are. FWIW the person on the phone seemed very eager to find a way for me to qualify for a battery.
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#4
RE: PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
Usually a utility may provide a backup source of power if the medical device is required to sustain ones life. I had inquired with my own utility (one I worked at for 30 years) in the Northeast US and they said a CPAP does not meet the criteria for life sustaining medical equipment and is deemed a 'therapy' device (although many of us would believe otherwise). Perhaps PG&E defines it differently or has a surplus supply of batteries they need to be rid of.

I found a website linked below that may have further information. Click the link under the title 'QUALIFYING MEDICAL DEVICES (PARTIAL LIST)' to see what is considered 'life sustaining'. An 'Apnea Monitor'(?) qualifies, but nothing specific to CPAP.

https://www.icarol.info/ResourceView2.as...um=4662092
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#5
RE: PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
Here's PG&E's information on who qualifies for medical baseline billing. It explicitly includes CPAP machines. The PG&E battery program requires you be in the medical baseline program.

I can't comment on other utility companies but I figured there's enough folks here on PG&E to be worth sharing. I'm sure other utility companies have similar medical programs but I suspect PG&E and California regulations are more generous than most. No idea about other countries.
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#6
RE: PG&E: free battery for CPAP users suffering power outages in California
Here's another site that might help. I called my electrical company, Pacific Power, and they gave me the number to PG&E.
http://pgebatteryprogram.com/index.php/learn
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