Page 1

FA R M   L A B O R   I N F O R M AT I O N   B U L L E T I N

Voice of the Fields California

April 2013

FREE

Volume 23, Number 4

Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs

H

igh energy costs have forced many families to choose between paying their utility bills, buying groceries and paying their rent or mortgage payments. If you are finding yourself unable to pay your energy bills, there are a number of places you can turn to for help. The first thing you should do is contact the service provider in your area to find out about any rate assistance programs they offer to their customers. If you are not aware of the service provider in your area, you can find your service company by visiting: http://www.csd. ca.gov/Services/FindServicesinYourArea.aspx.

Your energy company will be able to help enroll you in one of the many programs offered to California’s lowincome families. To get you familiar with the rate assistance programs you may qualify for, read on:

California Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program To help you meet your home energy needs, a grant from the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers low-income California households several kinds of services: n  The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides onetime financial assistance to help you with your energy costs. n 

The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) provides assistance

to low-income households that are in a crisis situation. If you receive a service termination or disconnect notice by a utility company, or if you are facing a life threatening emergency in your household caused by a faulty appliance, ECIP may be able to help with your bills. n 

LIHEAP Weatherization (WAP) The purpose of WAP is to make your home more energy efficient by providing free upgrades to low-income households. Common types of weatherization include: sealing holes and cracks around windows, doors and pipes, fixing or replacing windows, putting an insulated blanket around your water heater, and making sure your home’s heating and conditioning systems work properly. According to the Department of Community Services

and Development, upgrading your home to be more energy efficient could save your family up to 35% in energy costs, saving you up to $400 dollars a year! Due to limited funding for the program applicants are prioritized based on greatest need, income and household with vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, disabled persons, and households with young children. In order to qualify for California LIHEAP, you must be a resident of California, and you must have an annual income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts: Household Size

Maximum Income Level (Per Year)

1

$24,304

2

$31,782

3

$39,260

4

$46,738

5

$54,216

6

$61,694

7

$63,096

8

$64,498

For information on how to apply for LIHEAP the following toll free number may be helpful 866-674-6327. Options are available in English and Spanish. Continued on next page


Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs Continued from previous page

California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program The CARE program provides a monthly discount on energy bills for qualified households. The application process is done through your utility company. Qualifications are based on the number of persons living in your home and your total annual household income. Low-income customers who enroll in the CARE program will receive a 20 percent discount on their energy bills. To get more information about how to enroll in CARE, or to request an application, contact your utility company. The chart below shows the income qualifications for the CARE Program: Household Size

Maximum Income Level (Per Year)

1

$22,340

2

$30,260

3

$38,180

4

$46,100

5

$54,020

6

$61,940

7

$69,860

8

$77,780

Each Additional Person

Add $7,920

Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIFE) The LIFE program provides free weatherization services to low-income households who meet the CARE eligibility guidelines. Services provided

include: energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient furnaces, caulking, water heater blankets and insulation repairs. Contact your service provider for more information. Families and individuals may be automatically eligible for the programs above if they are enrolled in public assistance programs like Medicaid/ Medical, Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), Healthy Families A & B, National School Lunch’s Free Lunch Program, Food Stamps/Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Utility Shareholderfunded programs Some utility companies offer their own emergency payment assistance programs to their customers, which can provide assistance with the cost of heating and cooling your home. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) n  Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) program is for lowincome customers who experience uncontrollable or unplanned hardships and are unable to pay their energy needs. REACH is a one-time energy assistance service of up to $200 credit amount based on the unpaid past-due balance. Look at the chart below to see if you qualify, then

call The Salvation Army who runs the program at 1-800-933-9677. They will give you a phone number for your local The Salvation Army office where you can apply for the program. They have both English and Spanish speakers to help you. Household Size

Maximum Income Level (Per Year)

1 or 2

$30,500

3

$35,800

4

$43,200

5

$50,600

6

$58,000

Each Additional Person

Add $7,400

n 

Balanced Payment Plan Program (BPPP) PG&E will allow you to pay the same amount every month for 4 months by averaging your energy costs for the past 12 months. Every four months, PG&E’s system automatically checks your usage to average a new amount for you. Contact PG&E for more information about this program at 1-800-743-5000. English and Spanish speaking operators are available to help you.

Edison n  Level Pay Plan Allows you to budget your energy costs into equal monthly payments by spreading the high summer or winter bills over an entire year. The Level Pay Plan does not reduce the amount of your bill — you’re still responsible for paying the full cost of the energy you use,


but you can split the cost into equal payments throughout the year. n 

Energy Savings Assistance Program Provides eligible customers with free energy efficient appliances, as well as free installation, and weatherization services. See the income qualifications chart below, Household Size

Maximum Income (Per Year)

1

$22,340

2

$30,260

3

$38,180

4

$46,100

5

$54,820

Additional Person

Add $7,920

and call Edison for more information about these programs. 1-800-9502356, options in English and Spanish are available.

Some Money Saving Tips to Keep Energy Costs Low: Remove old appliances, and install energy efficient appliances in your home n  Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air leaks in or out. Do not caulk around water heater and furnace exhaust pipes. n  Weather-strip around windows and doors. n  Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting. n  Use compact fluorescent lamps, and low-wattage light bulbs. n  Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer’s instructions. n  Defrost refrigerators and freezers before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick. n  Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally. Or wash dishes by hand. n 

It is important to contact your utility company right away if you find yourself unable to pay your bill. They will help you find a payment assistance program

that is right for your financial situation. They will also be able to educate you about the money saving tips above and more to keep your energy costs low.

Pesticides: How to protect yourself

F

armworkers, and often their children, are regularly exposed to pesticides in many ways: mixing or applying pesticides; planting, weeding, harvesting, and processing crops; or living near treated fields. Studies have shown that the clothing parents wear home from agricultural work may put their children at risk for health problems. Children of farmers and agricultural field workers are at high risk for pesticide exposure, even if they are not directly involved in farming activities related to the pesticides. Young children spend a large portion of their time on the floor or ground and can easily come into direct contact with contaminated soil or dust by putting their hands and other objects in their mouths. It is important to change your clothes and shoes before entering your home. According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, exposure to some pesticides, even in small doses, can immediately cause severe effects. Symptoms may include rashes, vomiting, excessive sweating, dizziness, headaches, muscle pains and cramps, eye irritation, and respiratory difficulty. Some effects

may include blindness, severe burns, and death. Other pesticides have been linked to long-term effects, such as cancer, birth defects, and damage to the kidneys, liver and nervous system. It is important for you to know how to protect yourself and your family from being exposed to pesticides: n  Wear work clothing that protects your body from pesticide residues, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, socks, and hats. n  Make sure to wear gloves made from nitrile, butyl, or neoprene. Never wear leather or fabric gloves because they absorb pesticides. Continued on last page


Agricultural Jobs available to U.S. workers under H-2A contract You may apply for these jobs by phone or in person at your nearest Employment Development Department (EDD) field office Active

CalJobs Number

Job Title

Pay Rates

Contract Dates

Positions

City of Job

Employer’s County (for ECMS)

EDD Workforce Service Site Office

1

13912589

Farmworkers, Strawberries

$10.74

5/6/13 - 12/1/13

80

Royal Oaks

Santa Cruz

Salinas WS (831)796-3636

2

13912077

Farmworkers, Tomatoes

$10.74

5/13/13 - 11/30/13

200

Oceanside

San Diego

Oceanside WS (760)414-3582

3

13911785

Farmworkers, Strawberries

$10.74

5/15/13 -12/15/13

50

Santa Maria

Santa Barbara

Santa Maria (805)348-3230

4

13906524

Farmworkers, Strawberries

$10.74

5/15/13 -12/15/13

40

Santa Maria

Santa Barbara

Santa Maria (805)348-3230

5

13907478

Farmworkers Tomatoes

$10.74

5/20/13-6/10/13

50

Mecca

Riverside

Riverside WS (951)955-2200

6

13901132

Farmworkers, Lemons, Oranges, Avocados

$10.74

5/21/13 -12/15/13

75

Moorpark and Fillmore

Ventura

Oxnard WS (805)382-6551

7

13909373

Farmworkers, Strawberries

$10.74

6/5/13 - 11/27/13

32

Royal Oaks

Monterey

Salinas WS (831)796-3636

8

10339218

Farm Worker, Sheepherder

$1,422.52

on-going

206

California and Western States

California and Western States

A Selected EDD WSB Offices

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. The H-2A employers must demonstrate that qualified U.S. workers are not available for the job and the employment of temporary foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. Preference in hiring will be given to qualified U.S. workers before employers are allowed to bring in foreign workers under the program.

Pesticides: How to protect yourself Continued from prevvious page n 

n 

If you’re using gloves more than once, frequently check them for holes by filling them with water. Dispose of gloves that leak.

n 

Always use hot water to wash your hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, or using tobacco.

n  Wash

yourself immediately in the nearest clean water source if pesticides are spilled or sprayed on your body. As soon as possible, shower, and change into clean clothes.

n 

Keep all clothes with pesticides on them (including underwear) in closed plastic bags. Until you are ready to wash the clothes, keep the bags outside the house. Make sure children and pets cannot get to the bags. Wash your work clothes separately from other clothes before wearing them again.

Voice of the Fields California Circulation: 50,000 copies www.LaCooperativa.org Published monthly by: La Cooperativa Campesina de California 1107 9th Street, Suite 420, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone 916.388.2220 Fax 916.388.2425 Produced with the support of the Employment Development Department Voice of the Fields may be reproduced

Voice of the Fields - April 2013  

Farm Labor Information Bulletin