There could be some relief in sight for the high home gas bills folks are receiving.
At a time when higher natural gas prices are driving up energy costs, the new Power Saver Rewards Program is providing over $55 million in bill credits to participating Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers.
The Power Saver Rewards Program, starting May 1, rewards residential participants for temporarily reducing energy use when the demand for electricity is high. Event days are triggered by the state’s grid operator, the California Independent System Operator, calling a Flex Alert and/or an Energy Emergency Alert Watch, according to a news release issued by PG&E. Notifications to customers to reduce energy use as part of the program are sent out the day before an event. Over the ten event days in 2022, the average customer bill credit for program participants was $35.
Currently more than 1.6 million customers are enrolled in the program, which can be found at https://powersaver.pge.com.
“Customers who reduced energy use between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on event days will receive a bill credit,” said the release. “The credit will be automatically applied; customers do not need to contact PG&E. Customers receive $2 per kilowatt hour for decreasing electricity use during events. There is no penalty for not reducing energy.”
The program, initiated by the California Public Utilities Commission, encourages energy conservation to lessen the overall strain on the grid and prevent the need for rotating outages.
“Customers successfully shifted energy usage away from the times of peak demand on event days,” the release said. “During peak hours, customers temporarily reduced usage by taking actions such as turning their thermostat to 78 degrees or higher (health permitting), turning off lights not in use, unplugging electric vehicles, and waiting until after peak hours to use large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens.”
PG&E electric customers with a SmartMeter not enrolled in a conflicting peak hour program are eligible to participate. Most customers enrolled in a Community Choice Aggregator can also join. Customers can disenroll from the program at any time through the program website.