PG&E updates Fil-Ams on safety and commitment to community

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Roy Surges, PG&E

SAN FRANCISCO, California—To celebrate Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month and to offer a direct dialogue with the Filipino community, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) hosted a roundtable with journalists and representatives from the Filipino media based in Northern California on   May 18.

PG&E vice president of corporate relations and chief communications officer Roger Frizzell welcomed the participants and spoke of various initiatives and efforts the company is undertaking to reinforce the company’s commitment to provide affordable, safe and reliable gas and electric service to Filipino customers.

“This roundtable discussion is another important step PG&E is taking today to demonstrate our core values, which include a passion for serving customers and a commitment to respecting and celebrating diversity,” said Frizzell. “We are honored to join Filipino communities in celebrating APA Heritage Month and to provide information about various opportunities and programs PG&E has to offer. This event is just part of PG&E’s long history of supporting the diverse communities we serve.”

Joyce Ibardolasa, director, Performance and inclusion, spoke about PG&E’s diverse workforce, and job opportunities. She mentioned that this year the Filipino Employees Association, now called Samahan Employee Resource Group is on its 41st year.

It has two Filipino presidents Roger Ballesteros from the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter and Romeo Palma, Sacramento Chapter. Since 1971, PG&E’s Samahan has not only contributed significantly to enhancing an inclusive culture within PG&E, but also played an active role in the community by providing community support, volunteerism, and awarding scholarships to stellar students.

PG&E’s community investment programs and customer assistance programs are quite known to the Filipino community due to their continuous support of many cultural events, fairs, festivals and events organized by non-profits.

Sarah Sasaki, senior manager, Community Relations and Erwin Bonilla, program marketing manager, Channel Engagement and former president of Samahan expounded more on customer service, and sponsorship opportunities. Such as CARE- a monthly discount on energy bills for income-qualified households, Energy savings –  low to no cost energy savings tips, and detailed program information on SmartMeter among others.

Bonilla pointed out that in-language material and bilingual staff are available to ensure customers are fully aware and informed of important facts about their utility bill, usage and resources. There is a Tagalog translation on all PG&E information pamphlets and brochures, which is available as well  in Spanish and Chinese.

Highlight of the round-table was a hydrostatic pressure test demonstration conducted Roy Surges, Manager of PG&E’s Hydro Test Team, to illustrate one of the company’s many robust programs to improve the safety and strength of its natural gas system.

PG&E is working aggressively to test, inspect and modernize its gas pipelines across Northern and Central California. They have so far tested several hundred miles of pipes and testing will continue until this program has fulfilled its objective.

Surges, who had a colleague that died at the San Bruno conflagration caused by an exploding gas pipeline, is making sure that this never happens again. His team tests hydrostatic pressure over and above the prescribed tension to ensure the pipeline’s strength.

Know the signs of trouble

The PG&E Team also gave tips on how to detect possible danger. As an additional safety precaution, PG&E adds a highly recognizable sulfur-like odor to natural gas. If you smell this distinctive “rotten egg” odor, move to a safe location and immediately call 911, and PG&E at

1-800-743-5000. Notify others nearby that they, too, should stay away from the area.

Until you are a safe distance away, do not light a match or operate any device that might create a spark, including electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions and garage door openers.

For more information on PG&E, please visit www.pge.com or call PG&E’s Customer Service Line at 1.800.743.5000 (English) or 1.888.743.7431 (Tagalog).

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