PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles says the move is part of a larger redesign of the monthly statement bill. The bill will offer charts and grafts that show customers their power usage month-to-month and year-to-year.
"Our focus has always been to make sure our customers understand their charges; understand where they're using energy and do anything they can to save on their monthly bill," Boyles said. He said that the new Spanish statements are another way of accomplishing that goal.
"Studies have shown that one in five Californians speak English less than well," Boyles said. "That's a high enough number that we want to take steps to reach out to those customers."
PG&E serves nearly 15 million people in Northern and Central California. Boyles anticipates thousands will eventually request a utility bill in Spanish.
Many were immediately interested after the announcement. Nineteen-year-old Roxana Renteria was at the Mexican Consulate looking to get a passport when she heard about the new service. Renteria realized she needed to sign up her mother, who often has trouble understanding their monthly power bill because it's in English.
"Sometimes she'll ask me to translate (her statement) and there are words that I don't even know what to do," Renteria said. "So I was signing her up because it's easier for her, it's easier for me, and she'll understand more; why her bill is so high or why it's so low."
Some PG&E customers like Cesar Florencio don't speak English at all. With the help of a translator, he told Action News that he will be signing up for the service.
"It's difficult to understand what I was spending in electricity and gas," Florencio said in Spanish. He added that the new service is "perfect" for the Hispanic Community, and he will tell his friends and family about it.
PG&E has also offered its statements in Chinese, Braille and large print for some time. Boyle did not know if there will be statements offered in other languages in the future.
PG&E also has a hotline that provides support in 190 languages through over-the-phone interpretation services. In June, the utility company started a Spanish Specialty Line with a group of 62 bilingual customer service representatives.
The Spanish statements are available in paper from as well as online. To make the switch to start receiving statements in Spanish, visit pge.com/spanishbill or call the Spanish service line 1-800-660-6789.