SAN FRANCISCO, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As residential customers crank up their air conditioners and other appliances this summer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) offers a wide array of programs, incentives, and tips for saving money by managing electricity use at home.
Managing energy use is the key to avoiding unwelcome bill surprises wherever you live, but especially here in California, where electricity prices rise sharply as customers use more energy. During especially hot months, some customers may unwittingly run up hundreds of dollars in higher bills by moving into higher-price "tiers" as they operate their air conditioners more hours than usual.
To help customers stay solvent as well as cool, PG&E provides tools to help them track their energy use, incentives to make it easier to purchase energy-efficient appliances, and a money-saving summer rate plan called SmartRate™.
PG&E customers who have electric SmartMeters™ installed at their home can log onto the utility's My Energy page at www.pge.com/myenergy to take advantage of a wealth of information about their energy use and how to save money.Customers can see how their energy use compares to other customers in similar homes and neighborhoods. They can see how much energy they recently used by the hour, the day, or the month. They can also avoid bill surprises by signing up for " energy alerts," which notify them by phone, text message, or email when their usage level threatens to push them into a higher pricing tier. (Customers can sign up by editing their " Notification Preferences" in My Energy.) Through My Energy, customers can also sign up for a balanced payments plan to even out their monthly bills and avoid big swings. They can compare rate plans to find one that will lower their bills. If eligible, they can apply for discount programs like the low-income California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) program. PG&E's web site also offers dozens of free and low-cost ideas for saving energy (and money) every day. It also points customers to rebates and buying guides to help them invest in more efficient appliances, lighting, and electronics, which can quickly pay for themselves in lower energy bills. Customers can do a virtual walk through a typical house to discover all the savings opportunities at www.pge.com/homemoneysaver. Customers who want to save even more by increasing their home's overall energy efficiency can get up to $4,500 in incentives from PG&E through the statewide Energy Upgrade California program. Last but not least, customers who are willing to cut back on their electricity usage on no more than 15 hot days each season can save money by signing up for the voluntary SmartRate program through the My Energy home page. Last year participating customers saved an average of $67 over the course of the summer through simple steps like raising their thermostats a few degrees and waiting until the evening to run washers and dryers. With guaranteed bill protection the first year, customers can't lose money by trying the program. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com. SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)