Frequently Asked Questions

Related to the Home Energy Reports Program

About PG&E's Home Energy Reports Program

How can I join the Home Energy Reports program?
We are progressively identifying and enrolling customers in this program in different phases, in order to continue developing this new tool. We have completed enrollment for the current pilot phase, yet you may be selected to participate in future phases.

If you are interested in learning more about your energy use, please login to My Energy to view your information and find out about the latest tools that can help you save energy and money.

Why was I selected to be in the Home Energy Reports program?
We are sending these reports to customers as a learning tool and an opportunity to save on their energy use and costs.

Home Energy Reports are intended to provide you with an informative snapshot of your home energy use over time and across seasons—including comparisons with similar, occupied homes in the area—and personalized tips to help you save energy and money.

In turn, the energy you save will not only help the environment, but also help reduce the need for new power plants and the occurrence of power outages.

How often will I receive these reports?
You will receive a monthly report for the first three months you participate in the Home Energy Reports program. After three months – once you've familiarized yourself with the report contents – you will start receiving reports less frequently, on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about your energy use, please log in to My Energy to view your information and find out about the latest tools that can help you save energy and money.

How much does this report cost to customers and why are you sending it?
These reports serve as a learning tool and an opportunity for our customers to save on their energy use and costs. They are provided at no additional cost to our customers.

By managing similar programs in other parts of the country, Opower—our Home Energy Reports provider—has learned that customers typically save more on their energy bills than the reports cost to produce and deliver.

The energy customers save will not only help the environment, but also help reduce the need for new power plants and the occurrence of power outages.

How do I interpret the graphs in the report?
The information below describes each of the graphs and comparisons found in your Home Energy Reports. Some of these may not appear in your reports depending on which services—gas and/or electric—you receive from PG&E. See sample report (PDF, 103 KB)

  • The "Household Comparison" graph shows your energy use (light blue bar), the average use of all selected similar homes (gray bar), and the average use of the most efficient similar homes (green bar). This allows you to compare your energy use with your neighbors' energy use for the current period.
  • The "Last 12 Months Household Comparison" is similar to the single-period comparison described above in that it uses a line graph to compare your energy use with that of similar homes, except this graph presents use over a 12 month period.
  • The "Average Day Last Month" graph uses information from SmartMeter™ to reflect your average electricity use throughout the day. It is based on an average of up to 30 prior weekdays and weekends.
  • The "Personal Comparison" is a bar graph that compares your energy use over a period of time to the same period last year.
  • The "Action Steps" are personalized ideas for you to consider in order to help make your home more energy efficient.

All the information presented on the report is intended to provide context and allow you to take better control of your energy use and costs.

How do you choose the action steps?
We personalize the "Action Step" tips based on a few criteria, including whether you live in a single or a multi-family residence, the time of year and your energy use information. Although some recommendations may be familiar to you, we hope they serve as helpful reminders and updates on the latest energy efficiency technology and trends.

Our goal is also to provide you with new and updated tips throughout the year so you'll have many opportunities to learn and save.

See more ways to save.

What are the savings estimates based on?
Savings estimated by Opower—our Home Energy Reports provider—are based on both the energy use of a typical home in your area and current energy costs. The degree to which your household differs from the typical home in your area will impact your savings estimates.

Will I receive new energy saving tips each month? Where can I find more tips?
With each report you will receive a different set of tips based on your home information and the season of the year to help you reduce your energy use and costs. Sometimes measures you have already taken may appear on your report as a reminder not only to you, but to many of your neighbors and other customers.

See more ways to save.

If I've already implemented some of the tips suggested, why are you including these in my report?
We are happy to hear that you are taking steps to reduce your energy use and costs. Sometimes measures you have already taken may appear on your report as a reminder not only to you, but to many of your neighbors and other customers.

Our goal is to provide you with new and updated tips throughout the year so you'll have many opportunities to learn and save.

See more ways to save.

Is my report available electronically?
Because we are in the initial phases of the program, reports are only available in printed format. In the future, you'll be able to request email delivery and view your detailed energy usage online.

When will I get these reports for my other property?
We are progressively identifying and enrolling customers who can benefit from this program in different phases.

Though we cannot yet confirm when your other properties might be enrolled, we will inform you as soon as you are scheduled to start receiving the reports at your billing address.

Can I opt out of this program? If so, how?
This program is intended to help you gain awareness and better control your energy use and costs. It comes at no additional cost to you and it is helping educate customers about energy use and California's energy efficiency goals. The energy customers save will not only help the environment, but also help reduce the need for new power plants and the occurrence of power outages.

However, if you would like to stop receiving Home Energy Reports, please let us know by calling 1-866-767-6457 and we will process your request. Please note that once you opt-out, we will not be able to add you back into the program.

About Similar Homes Comparisons in Home Energy Reports

How did you choose the households used in my comparison and who are they?
To ensure your similar homes comparison is valid, we use the data from homes in your area that have like characteristics, which typically lead to similar energy needs. These characteristics are based on publicly available information and do not include private information, such as number of occupants, and types of appliances and devices in the home, for example.

Please keep in mind that the similar homes in your comparison may not be immediately next door. Your comparison includes approximately 100 nearby homes that appear to be occupied and are similar to yours in size and electricity and/or natural gas service needs.

The comparisons are compiled anonymously and kept confidential, which means other customers never know what homes are used or see your energy usage data.

How is "nearby" defined in the context of the similar homes comparison?
In the context of the similar homes comparison, a "nearby" home may not necessarily be immediately next door. The comparison includes homes located as close to you as possible with like characteristics, which typically lead to similar energy needs. These characteristics are based on publicly available information and do not include private information, such as number of occupants, and types of appliances and devices in the home.

If your home has different characteristics than others in your neighborhood, we consider a greater area—normally within your zip code—to find relevant comparisons. Our goal is to provide you with the best and most relevant comparison available.

Do other households know if I'm in their comparison and how I compare to them?
Protecting our customers' information is a top priority. PG&E applies the same privacy protection standards to all data collected by the company from customers. We treat each customer's personal information and data as confidential, consistent with all regulatory requirements, including those established by the Public Utilities Commission. Therefore, be assured that your information is kept private.

The similar homes comparisons on your Home Energy Reports are intended to provide context and allow you to take better control of your energy use and costs. Comparisons are made to an average of 100 similar homes in your area that have like characteristics, which typically lead to similar energy needs. These characteristics are based on publicly available information and do not include private information, such as number of occupants, and types of appliances and devices in the home, for example.

In short, the comparisons are compiled anonymously and kept confidential, which means other customers never know what homes are used or see your energy usage data.

What is the "average square footage of the home" – is that my square footage or is that the average for all similar homes?
In the context of the similar homes comparison, we use the average square footage of 100 comparable homes nearest to you.

In some cases, the square footage will be almost identical to yours but, most likely, it will not be an exact match. Our goal is to provide a comparison of homes that are very close in size. The square footage information shows that the comparison uses similar homes.

If you find that your home's size is substantially different from the information provided, please call us at 1-866-767-6457 with your actual square footage and we will update our records to get a more accurate comparison. Your information will be kept private.

Is my home being compared to vacant homes?
When compiling your similar homes comparison, we only consider homes that appear to be occupied at the time of comparison. We do not include homes with very low energy usage or those we believe are vacant during the comparison period.

My neighbor has solar panels. How does this affect the similar homes comparison?
A number of our customers have invested in solar panels for their homes, which has an impact on their energy consumption and costs. However, keep in mind that this is one of the many reasons why we make a comparison with 100 similar homes in your area. Research conducted by Opower—our Home Energy Reports provider—shows that for almost all residents, the averages used in the report are a good indicator of typical energy usage. Therefore, a few homes in your area with solar panels won't materially affect the overall comparison.

Can I request to not be included in the similar homes comparison?
The similar homes comparisons are intended to provide context and allow you to take better control of your energy use and costs. Unfortunately, we are unable to individually remove you from the similar homes comparison, unless you opt-out from receiving the report.

Many customers find these comparisons very helpful when making decisions about their energy use. However, if you would like to stop receiving Home Energy Reports, please let us know by calling 1-866-767-6457 and we will process your request. Please note that once you opt-out, we are unable to add you back into the program.

About Your Energy Use

What uses the most energy in my home?
Though each household's energy use depends on a number of factors, typically the largest home energy users are air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. Other common heavy energy users include water heaters, refrigerators or freezers, pools and spas.

Why did my energy use go up/down compared to the same period last year or last month?
Part of this program's value is that it offers additional information about your energy use to help you save. For example, with the 12-Month Household Comparison chart you can identify your seasonal energy use patterns and compare them with that of similar homes. In addition, the tips section provides information about the factors that contribute to higher or lower energy use and costs. These factors may include:

  • Daily routines of household members. Consider when and how often you use appliances, lighting, electronics and other devices in your home. Incorporating energy-saving behaviors into your everyday routines can go a long way in terms of savings. For example, try running only full loads of laundry and dishes in the washer and always turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  • Number of household members or guests. Energy use tends to increase as more people are added to the home. There are steps you can take to reduce the impact of each additional member, such as adjusting your daily routine, as described above.
  • New appliances and other additions to your home. Many people don't realize that some modern, flat-screen televisions can use more energy than conventional televisions. Adding new electronics and other items to your home, such as pools or saunas, can increase your overall energy use. Although replacing old devices with more efficient ones is a great way to save, adding more devices overall can increase your consumption.
  • The weather. Though we cannot control this factor, we do provide heating and cooling recommendations that can help you stay comfortable in any weather, while saving energy and money.

How can the efficient similar homes in my comparison manage to use so much less energy than my home?
Efficient households, as identified in these reports, are those that appear to use less energy when compared to similar homes in the area. Some of these households have likely taken various steps to reduce their energy consumption, such as using the thermostat to manage heating and cooling costs, turning off lights and electronics when they're not in use, and running full loads in the dishwasher, and clothes washer and dryer. These are only some of the simple recommendations made in Home Energy Reports that can help you make your home more energy efficient and save.

See more ways to save.

My report shows I use more energy than similar homes. What should I focus on to reduce my energy use?
In order to kick-start your savings, we recommend that you initially focus on reducing your use of the following items, which are usually the top household energy consumers:

  • Heating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Second Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Clothes dryer
  • Lighting
  • Televisions
  • Computers and other electronics
  • Stove or oven

You'll find personalized tips in the "Action Steps" section of your Home Energy Report, including simple quick fixes, smart purchases, and long-term investments that can help you save energy and money.

See more ways to save.

There are valid reasons why my household uses more energy than my neighbors'. So, what can I learn from the reports?
These reports are partly an educational tool designed to show you how much energy your home uses in the context of other nearby, similar homes. Research conducted by Opower—our Home Energy Reports provider—shows that for almost all residents, the averages used in the reports are a good indicator of typical energy usage.

However, there are other factors that may be different from similar homes and influence your energy use, such as the number of occupants in the home and the use of hot tubs, swimming pools, and other devices that consume a lot of energy.

If you happen to be impacted by one of these factors, Home Energy Reports can help you understand how these are affecting your energy use and costs. The reports also offer different ideas on how you can be as efficient as possible and save, regardless of your specific circumstances.

What if I work from home and thus use more energy than similar homes?
Research conducted by Opower—our Home Energy Reports provider—shows that for almost all residents, the averages used in the report are a good indicator of typical energy usage. However, there are other factors that may affect your energy use that are different from similar homes, such as the number of occupants in the home, and the use of hot tubs, swimming pools, and other devices that consume a lot of energy.

If you happen to be impacted by these factors, the Home Energy Report can help you understand how these are affecting your energy use and costs. The reports also offer different ideas on how you can be as efficient as possible and save, regardless of your specific circumstances.

For those who work from home, some recommendations may include:

  • Selecting energy-efficient home office equipment
  • Using an ENERGY STAR® laptop instead of a desktop
  • Using power strips and turning off devices when not in use

See more ways to save.

I have a serious health condition that requires me to use special medical equipment. How can I benefit from Home Energy Reports?
We understand customers' need for special equipment or to maintain living conditions that may require them to use more energy than similar homes.

These customers may benefit by applying for PG&E's Medical Baseline program, which provides additional amounts of energy at the lowest baseline price for qualified customers dependent on life-support equipment and/or with special heating or cooling needs due to certain medical conditions.

You may find that Home Energy Report comparisons can help you identify other ways to reduce your energy use and costs. However, if you would like to stop receiving Home Energy Reports, please let us know by calling 1-866-767-6457 and we will process your request. Please note that once you opt-out, we will not be able to add you back into the program.

How can I measure my progress?
The different usage comparison graphs on the report can help you keep track of your energy use and progress. The comparisons using previous month and previous year information can be particularly helpful in determining the impact of the action steps you've taken over time to gain better control of your energy consumption and costs.

Update Your Profile

Are we comparing you correctly?
Update your home profile by writing us or calling 1-866-767-6457.

Contact Us

Please write us if you have questions or feedback about our Home Energy Reports program, or call our dedicated contact center at 1-866-767-6457.

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About Energy Use

What is a kilowatt hour?
One kilowatt hour equals the use of 1,000 watts of energy for one hour. A kilowatt hour is the measure of electrical energy commonly used for electricity billing. For example, a 100-watt bulb operated for 1000 hours would consume 100 kilowatt hours (100 watts x 1000 hours = 100 kWh).

What is a lumen?
A lumen is a measure of total light output.

What is a Btu?
A British thermal unit (Btu) is a common unit of energy. Its formal definition is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree.

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