December 2014 Bill Inserts

Each month, PG&E offers important information on rebates, saving energy and safety in printed inserts that accompany your bill. Now, access this information online whenever you wish.

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Care Rate Reform

At PG&E, we know even small changes in electric costs can make a big difference for our customers. That's why we're here to help with easy ways to save energy and money.

Step 1: Put our energy savings programs to work for you.

Enroll in our voluntary SmartRate™ Plan for significant summertime savings.

Consider our Energy Savings Assistance Program to get new energy-efficient appliances at no cost.*

Step 2: Take advantage of easy home energy savings tips.

Reduce your costs even more with small do-it-yourself steps that can make a big difference.

  • Run full washer/dryer loads, and clean the lint from the dryer after every load. You could save up to $34 per year.
  • When you leave the house during winter, set the thermostat to 56°F. Turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours can save you 5 to 15 percent a year on heating.
  • Cut shower time in half to reduce your water heating cost by 33 percent.

Step 3: Explore other ways PG&E can help you manage energy costs.

Energy rates are being adjusted, which means your bill is likely to increase. As a CARE participant, you'll continue to receive a substantial discount of at least 30 percent.**

Learn more ways to save energy and money.

*Furnace and water heater repair or replacement may be available to eligible homeowners when PG&E determines existing natural gas units are inoperative or unsafe.
**30 percent or more savings for gas and electric customers; 20 percent or more savings for gas-only customers.

Questions have been raised about the possible health effects of 60-hertz (power frequency) electric and magnetic fields (EMF*), which are found wherever you have electric power. This insert contains information that will help you understand the EMF issue, plus practical tips you can use to reduce your exposure at home and at work.

Campos Eléctricos y Magnéticos (EMF, por sus siglas en inglés): Si desea recibir información en español, comuníquese con Pacific Gas and Electric Company al 1-800-660-6789.

Can EMF Harm Your Health?
Electric and magnetic fields are present wherever electricity flows—around appliances and power lines, and in offices, schools and homes. Many researchers believe that if there is a risk of adverse health effects from usual residential exposures to EMF, it is probably just at the detection limit of human health studies; nonetheless, the possible risk warrants further investigation. The varying results from epidemiological studies, which looked at estimated EMF exposures and childhood leukemia, are consistent with a weak link. Laboratory studies, including studies investigating a possible mechanism for health effects (mechanistic studies), provide little or no evidence to support this weak link.

The results from many research studies have been evaluated by international, national and California EMF research programs to determine whether EMF poses any health risk. Given the uncertainty of the issue, the medical and scientific communities have been unable to conclude that usual residential exposures to EMF cause health effects, or to establish any standard or level of residential exposure that is known to be either safe or harmful. These conclusions remain unchanged by recent studies.

*The term EMF in this publication refers to extremely low frequency (ELF) 60-hertz electric and magnetic fields associated with power delivered by electric utilities. It does not refer to radio frequency (RF) waves associated with wireless communications such as cell phones.

World Health Organization Findings
The World Health Organization (WHO) completed a review of the potential health implications of extremely low frequency (ELF) EMF, which includes power-frequency fields. Their conclusions and recommendations were presented in June 2007 in a report known as the Extremely Low Frequency Fields, Environmental Health Criteria Monograph No. 238.

The WHO report concluded that evidence for a link between ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukemia “is not strong enough to be considered causal but sufficiently strong to remain a concern.” “Virtually all of the laboratory evidence and the mechanistic evidence fail to support” this reported association. For all other diseases, there is inadequate or no evidence of health effects at low exposure levels.

The report emphasized that, given the weakness of the evidence for health effects, the health benefits of exposure reduction are unclear and adopting policies based on arbitrary low exposure limits is not warranted. In light of this situation, WHO made these and other recommendations:

  • National authorities should implement communication programs with all stakeholders to enable informed decision-making, including how individuals can reduce their own exposure.
  • Policy makers and community planners should implement very low-cost measures to reduce exposures when constructing new facilities and designing new equipment, including appliances.
  • Policy makers should establish guidelines for ELF field exposure for both the general public and workers. The best source of guidance for both exposure levels and the principles of scientific review are the international guidelines.
  • Government and industry should promote research to reduce the uncertainty of the scientific evidence on the health effects of ELF field exposure. Several recommended research projects are already under way through the Electric Power Research Institute, of which Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is a member.

To view the full report and a fact sheet summarizing it, visit www.who.int/peh-emf and click on EMF publications & information resources.

EMF Chart

What You Can Do
In a situation of scientific uncertainty and public concern, WHO recommended that utilities explore "very low-cost" ways to reduce EMF exposure from new or upgraded facilities. PG&E and other California public utilities have been pursuing no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce EMF levels from new utility transmission lines and substation projects. You, too, may want to take no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce your EMF exposure at home and at work.

Human studies have not produced a consensus about any health benefits from changing the way people use electric appliances. However, if you feel reducing your EMF exposure would be beneficial, you can increase your distance from electric appliances and limit the amount of time you use appliances at home or at work.

For instance, you can place phone answering machines and electric clocks away from the head of your bed. Increasing your distance from these and other appliances such as televisions, computer monitors and microwave ovens can reduce your EMF exposure.

You can also reduce your EMF exposure by limiting the time you spend using personal appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, heating pads and electric blankets. You may also want to limit the time you spend using electric cooking appliances.

You can locate the sources of EMF in your work environment, and spend break time in lower-field areas.

It is not known whether such actions will have any impact on your health.

For More Information
Call PG&E for a free information package or home or business measurements at 1-800-743-5000.

Additional information is also available at these links:
World Health Organization International EMF Project:
Visit www.who.int/peh-emf for EMF information, including fact sheets, research completed and scientific journal articles.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:
Visit www.niehs.nih.gov/health and click on Brochures & Fact Sheets, then select EMFs in English or Spanish.

California Department of Health Services:
Visit www.ehib.org/emf

California Public Utilities Commission:
Visit www.cpuc.ca.gov and enter "EMF Actions" in the Search box.

Reviewed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Summary
On November 18, 2014, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) proposed to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) a request to approve funding for the 2015-2017 Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) and California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) programs and budgets effective January 1, 2015.

In Decision 14-08-030, the CPUC authorized funding for the year 2015 at the authorized 2014 budget level of $176.8 million for both programs. Following D.14-08-030, the CPUC also issued General Rate Case Decision 14-08-032. As a result, PG&E is requesting an increase to our revenue requirement in 2015 for the ESA program of $0.1 million. In addition, PG&E is requesting a revenue requirement decrease of $7.2 million in 2016 and an increase of $2.8 million in 2017. For the CARE program, PG&E is seeking a revenue requirement increase of $0.2 million in 2015 to reflect certain authorized revenue changes as directed in D.14-08-030 and D.14-08-032. In addition, PG&E is requesting a revenue requirement increase of $2.9 million in 2016 and $1.1 million in 2017.

Background
In this filing, PG&E seeks approval to continue offering these financial and energy efficiency assistance programs. The ESA Program provides income-qualified renters and homeowners with easy, free solutions to help manage their energy use each month.

The CARE Program provides a monthly discount on energy bills for households and housing facilities that meet the program's income-qualifications. Qualifications are based on the number of persons living in the home and the total gross annual household income.

How will PG&E's application affect me?
If approved, this application would result in an increase of less than one percent in PG&E's total annual electric and gas revenue requirements for the ESA and CARE programs from 2014 to 2015. The requested electric and gas revenue for 2015 would be collected from customers as described inside.

CARE_ESA

These increases in customers' bills would be collected through the Public Purpose Program (PPP) charge, which funds various programs, including those for low income customers, as required by California law and/or the CPUC. This charge is paid by bundled, direct access, community choice aggregation and eligible departing load customers. CARE customers are not charged for costs to the CARE program, which is a part of the PPP surcharge.

  • Bundled service customers are those who receive electric generation, as well as transmission and distribution service from PG&E.
  • Direct access customers only receive transmission and distribution service from PG&E.
  • Community choice aggregation customers also only receive transmission and distribution service from PG&E.

How do I find out more about PG&E's proposals?
You can view PG&E's application and exhibits at pge.com/regcases. Select "Low Income Program PY15-17" from the Cases dropdown menu.

If you have questions about PG&E's application, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. TDD/TTY users call 1-800-652-4712.

If you would like a copy of PG&E's application and exhibits, please write to PG&E at the address below.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
2015–2017 ESA CARE Application
P.O. Box 7442
San Francisco, CA 94120

A copy of PG&E's application and exhibits are also available for review at the CPUC, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon. PG&E's application (without exhibits) is available on the CPUC's website cpuc.ca.gov/puc.

How does the CPUC's decision-making process work?
This Application will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) who will determine how to receive evidence and other related documents necessary for the CPUC to establish a record upon which to base its decision. Evidentiary Hearings (EHs) may be held where parties of record will present their testimony and may be subject to cross-examination by other parties. These EHs are open to the public, but only those who are parties of record can participate.

After considering all proposals and evidence presented during the formal hearing process, the assigned Judge will issue a proposed decision which may adopt PG&E's proposal, modify it or deny it. Any CPUC Commissioner may sponsor an alternate decision. The proposed decision, and any alternate decisions, will be discussed and voted upon at a scheduled CPUC Voting Meeting.

As a party of record, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) will review this application. ORA is the independent consumer advocate within the CPUC with a legislative mandate to represent investor-owned utility customers to obtain the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels. ORA has a multi-disciplinary staff with expertise in economics, finance, accounting and engineering. Other parties of record will also participate in the CPUC's proceeding to consider this application. For more information about ORA, please call 1-415-703-1584, email ora@cpuc.ca.gov or visit ORA's website at ora.ca.gov/default.aspx.

Stay informed
If you would like to follow this proceeding, or any other issue before the CPUC, you may use the CPUC's free subscription service. Sign up at: subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov.

If you would like to learn how you can participate in the proceeding, or if you have informal comments or questions about the CPUC processes, you may access the CPUC's Public Advisor's Office (PAO) webpage at cpuc.ca.gov/puc and click on "Public Advisor" from the CPUC Information Menu. You may also contact the PAO as follows.

Email: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Mail:
Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103
San Francisco, CA 94102

Call:
(415) 703-2074 or 1-866-849-8390 (toll-free)
TTY: (415) 703-5282 or 1-866-836-7825 (toll-free)