STOCKTON — More than two million Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers, which includes more than 80,400 San Joaquin County residential customers, are on track to qualify for gas bill credits through the utility’s Winter Gas Savings program, based on December usage reductions.
If sustained, that number would exceed the total achieved in last year’s program – with additional customers still able to earn bill credits through January if they step up their energy savings.
The program provides eligible residential and business customers with an automatic gas bill credit of up to 20 percent for reducing natural gas usage during peak months. (Reductions are based on usage over the three previous winters, adjusted for weather.) Customers who lower usage during December 2012 and January 2013 by 10 percent or more will receive a 20 percent credit. Those who conserve by up to 10 percent will receive an equal percentage credit for those months on their February or March gas bill. During last year’s program, nearly two million customers earned credits totaling $41 million.
Customers with a gas SmartMeter can gauge how well they are doing by using the program’s online Progress Tracker available at www.pge.com/progresstracker and www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric. Customers who used it to follow their December natural gas usage are on track to qualify for bill credits at a higher rate than those who reduced consumption without using the monitoring tool.
Sixty percent of customers who tracked their progress toward earning gas bill credits using PG&E’s Progress Tracker tool are on track to qualify for some level of credit and 41 percent are pacing at the maximum 20 percent credit level. Overall, 53 percent of eligible PG&E customers are on track to qualify for a bill credit while 35 percent are on pace to achieve the maximum credit.
With almost three weeks in the month remaining, customers can take simple steps to reduce natural gas usage to potentially qualify for or increase their credit. Examples include:
· Lower the thermostat to 68 degrees during the daytime if it is safe to do so.
· Cut your shower time in half to reduce your water heating costs by a third.
· Set the water heater to 120 degrees or the “normal” setting.
· Wash clothes in cold water instead of hot.
· Open blinds and drapes on sunny days.
· Microwave small amounts of food instead of heating them up in the oven.
For additional tips, tools and resources for conserving gas, see www.pge.com/wintergassavings.