OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 14, 2023
Customers Can Lower Energy Costs Using Tips, Tools and Incentive Programs
OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- With triple-digit temperatures expected this week in much of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) service area, PG&E encourages customers to prepare for hotter temperatures, and offers ways to reduce energy usage and bills.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages California's electric grid, anticipates high temperatures and increased electricity demand across key parts of the West for much of the week, and is closely monitoring for impacts to the power grid.
While the ISO says resources are currently expected to be sufficient to meet California demand, if weather or grid conditions worsen, the ISO could issue a Flex Alert encouraging consumers to voluntarily reduce electricity during the late afternoon and evening hours on certain days. Flex Alerts are typically issued a day prior to an event. You can sign up for text notifications at www.FlexAlert.org.
PG&E Offers AC Energy Saving Tips
Air conditioning use accounts for more than 40% of summer energy usage. Taking these simple steps can help reduce energy use during peak demand times and lower energy costs:
- Set the AC thermostat to 78 degrees or higher between the hours of 4-9 pm, health permitting.
• Cool your home to below-normal levels in the morning. Close windows, doors and window coverings and use fans to help keep your home cool while your AC unit takes a break.
- Replace air filters, and make sure air vents and registers are not blocked by furniture, curtains or rugs.
• Dirty air filters make the air conditioner work harder to circulate the air. Cleaning or replacing air filters monthly can improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
- Weatherproof your home to limit the flow of warm outside air into the home, keep the cool air inside.
• Apply weatherstripping to doors, caulk around windows and doors, and install a door sweep on the garage door(s).
Energy Incentive Programs for PG&E Customers
PG&E offers a variety of energy incentive programs to help customers reduce strain on the electric grid during high-demand periods, lower energy costs, and support the state's clean energy goals.
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 free, voluntary energy incentive initiatives reward participants who can be flexible when they use energy.
- SmartAC Smart Thermostat—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.
- Power Saver Rewards—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. 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.
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.
Resources to Help Customers Manage Summer Energy Bills
PG&E customers can benefit by participating in a variety of programs to prepare for higher 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 out energy costs for more predictable monthly payments and helps customers avoid seasonal bill peaks.
- Bill Forecast Alerts are notifications sent by email, text or phone notifying the customer 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 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 smart meter installed are eligible to participate.
Eligible customers are encouraged to take advantage of income-qualified assistance programs including:
- California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program offers a discount of 20% or more each month on energy bills.
- Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program offers a monthly discount of 18% on electricity bills for households with three or more people.
- Medical Baseline provides a lower monthly rate for customers with special energy needs due to certain medical conditions.
For more information on ways to improve energy efficiency, visit pge.com/summer.
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 www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.
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SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company