Powerful Initiatives: PG&E Energy Incentive Programs Reward Customers for Reducing Energy Use and Strain On Electric Grid

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Aug 03, 2023

PR Newswire

SmartAC Smart Thermostat Approaches 100,000-Participant Milestone and Power Saver Rewards Pays Customers to Reduce Energy Use During High-Demand Hours

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As summer heat ramps up in many areas and energy demand increases across California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) encourages customers to enroll in an energy incentive program to help lower energy costs, reduce strain on the electric grid during high-demand periods, and support the state's clean energy goals.

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The SmartAC™ Smart Thermostat and Power Saver Rewards programs help residential customers lower overall energy costs by shifting portions of energy use to hours when overall grid demand is lower and renewable energy resources are more plentiful. These energy incentive initiatives reward participants who can be flexible when they use energy and help reduce the state's emissions footprint.

"Energy incentive programs are a win-win for participants, putting money back in their pockets and positioning them to make a difference, banding together with others in the state to relieve stress on the grid and help prevent rotating outages," said Jason Glickman, PG&E, Executive Vice President, Engineering, Planning and Strategy. "There is also a real environmental benefit, as these programs help to shift substantial energy use to times when more clean generation is powering the state's electric grid."

SmartAC Smart Thermostat Program

SmartAC Smart Thermostat is a voluntary program implemented by Uplight that rewards customers for being flexible with their air conditioning (AC) load during the most high-demand hours. By allowing adjustments to their thermostat schedule so their AC uses less energy during high-demand hours in coordination with thousands of other customers, participants can earn money and help prevent power interruptions while maintaining comfortable temperatures in their homes.

Customers can enroll in Smart Thermostat under the SmartAC program. On extreme heat days between June 1-Oct. 31 when PG&E anticipates there will be a high demand for energy, the Smart Thermostat program will automatically shift a portion of participants' energy use out of the hours when most people are using their AC to keep homes comfortable without contributing to stress on the grid. Enrolled customers may opt out of any event simply by changing the setpoint on their thermostat.

Participants who enroll with an existing smart thermostat receive $75 when they sign up, or enrollees can receive $120 off a new smart thermostat. All participants are eligible to receive $25 at the end of the SmartAC season.

The program is open through the end of this year to PG&E electric service customers with at least one Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostat that is always connected to a central AC and a Wi-Fi network. There is a limit of one enrollment reward per household, and participants may not be enrolled in another energy incentive program implemented by PG&E or a third-party vendor.

"We are excited to be approaching 100,000 participants in the SmartAC Smart Thermostat program—we expect to reach that milestone in the coming weeks. Energy incentive programs like SmartAC Smart Thermostat and Power Saver Rewards are important, because they put the power in the hands of our customers. Making small changes to when they use energy can make a big impact for our hometowns and our planet," said Glickman.

Power Saver Rewards Program

Power Saver Rewards is a free program offered by PG&E that rewards participants for temporarily reducing energy use when the demand for electricity is high.

By conserving energy during Power Saver Rewards events coinciding with a CAISO Flex Alert and/or an Energy Emergency Alert Watch between May 1-Oct. 31, customers earn $2 for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy saved. Last year, PG&E customers received over $55 million in bill credits. Over the 10 event days in 2022, the average customer bill credit for program participants was $35.

Currently, more than 1.6 million customers are enrolled in the program, initiated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Customers who reduce energy use between 4-9 p.m. on event days receive an automatic credit on their energy statement after the program season ends. Notifications to customers to reduce energy use as part of the program are sent out the day before an event. There is no penalty for not reducing energy.

PG&E electric customers with a SmartMeter not enrolled in a conflicting peak hour program are eligible to participate. Most customers enrolled in a Community Choice Aggregator can also join. Customers can disenroll from the program at any time through the program website.

Additional Resources to Help Manage Summer Energy Bills

In addition to financial and bill assistance resources, PG&E offers a variety of programs to help customers manage their summer energy costs:

  • Personalized Rate Comparison supports customers by providing the best rate plan options for their household, which can help save money on energy bills.
  • Budget Billing averages customers' monthly energy costs to help monthly payment amounts remain more consistent, even if energy use changes significantly from season to season.
  • Bill Forecast Alerts are notifications sent by email, text or phone notifying customers if their monthly bill is expected to exceed a specific amount set by the customer, based on how they are using energy.
  • Home Energy Checkup is a free service that helps customers assess their energy use and gives customized savings tips.
  • HomeIntel is a free energy saving program that includes a Smart Audit and a personal energy coach. Customers who have lived in their home for more than a year and have a SmartMeter installed are eligible to participate.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG, Financial), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.

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SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company

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