In 1976, PG&E became one of the first utilities in the nation to offer energy efficiency programs to our customers. And today, PG&E's commitment to saving energy is stronger than ever.
Using energy more efficiently is more than simply the right thing to do—it saves our customers money on their energy bills. It is also the fastest, most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global climate change. In fact, since 1976, PG&E and our customers have kept more than 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere, based on cumulative lifecycle gross energy savings.
PG&E offers a full package of energy efficiency products and services for our customers, including rebates and incentives, energy analyses, training and education, and more.
PG&E is working collaboratively to help residential consumers purchase more energy-efficient TVs. The products are marked with PG&E and ENERGY STAR® stickers to help customers easily indentify them.
We are targeting energy-efficient televisions—recognizing the rapidly increasing demand for consumer electronics, which account for up to 15 percent of household electricity use.
Because compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lamps, we are educating our customers on how helping the environment can be as easy as changing a lightbulb. We are also working directly with manufacturers and retailers to discount the bulbs at the point of sale and are working with state and local governments to promote fluorescent lamp recycling, building on our involvement in the California Take-It-Back Partnership.
Our Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco and Energy Training Center in Stockton promote new technologies and educate our customers on the latest energy efficiency options. Our Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon provides nationally recognized energy efficiency consulting services to the commercial food service industry.
With Home Energy Reports, we offer information and tips to help residential customers make their homes more energy-efficient. Customers can review how their energy use changes over time and across seasons. They can also learn how their home's energy use compares to approximately 100 occupied, nearby homes that are similar in size and have the same type of energy service.
We are also deploying a tool to help our largest commercial and industrial customers enhance energy management at both individual buildings and across entire fleets of buildings. The tool enables PG&E to show customers how their facilities compare in energy use to one another and to established industry benchmarks.
More than 20 cities have worked with PG&E on a smart and practical approach to energy efficiency—converting their street lights to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Compared with traditional street lights, LEDs use about 50 percent less electricity and last up to five times longer.
PG&E's SmartMeter™ program is an integral part of the California Public Utilities Commission-approved effort to upgrade California's energy grid.
The SmartMeter™ system integrates wireless communications with electric and gas metering technology, enabling new tools to help customers learn more about their energy use, understand how their use affects their bills and take steps to save energy and money.
SmartMeter™ technology is the indispensable cornerstone of the Smart Grid—which will ultimately empower customers and utilities to manage energy use more intelligently and efficiently. It will help customers increase their control over their energy costs, and it will allow for even greater integration of electric vehicles and renewable energy into the electric grid.
PG&E has installed more than 8.5 million SmartMeter™ gas and electric meters—more advanced meters than any other utility in the nation.
From Humboldt to Santa Barbara, cities and counties across our service area are taking action against climate change. PG&E is actively supporting a growing number of these local governments—helping them achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals through free training, resources, competitive funding and a dedicated team of PG&E community energy managers.
PG&E is working to provide comprehensive, actionable and economically viable solutions that help local governments address their impact on global climate change—from providing data and assistance with greenhouse gas inventories to on-the-ground training and guidance on climate action plans to tailored strategies for implementing innovative energy efficiency programs.
In addition to energy efficiency, PG&E also manages a variety of demand response programs to help cut peak energy use. Focusing on ways to reduce peak energy use is vital to our environmental and resource planning objectives. These programs provide incentives for customers to temporarily reduce or shift their energy use on days when demand for energy is at its highest.
Our demand response programs range from cycling residential air conditioning units on and off, to fully automated "load shedding" strategies controlled by computers, to emergency programs where large industrial customers voluntarily reduce their electricity demand in less than an hour upon request.
PG&E's SmartAC™ program provides a simple and voluntary way for households to participate in demand response. During extremely hot summer days, PG&E can dispatch a radio signal to SmartAC devices installed in a customer's home, slightly reducing the amount of electricity that the customer's air conditioner uses without disturbing customer comfort.