Submitted to the WPR |
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that its Winter Gas Savings program paid out more than $41 million in rebates to nearly two million natural gas customers this spring.
But unlike the state lottery, the utility-run savings program wasn’t a game of chance. PG&E’s eligible gas customers needed only to reduce their gas usage in December and January compared to the previous three winters (adjusted for weather) to receive an automatic rebate of up to 20 percent on their gas bills for those months.
Rebates began showing up in February bills, delighting many customers. A total of 1.9 million customers, or 49 percent of all who were eligible, enjoyed some savings. Nearly two-thirds of those who qualified received the maximum 20 percent rebate.
Their prodigious conservation efforts paid off by saving more than 85 million therms of natural gas, or 20 percent of their normal consumption during the winter months. That not only helped the environment, but moderated the cost of procuring natural gas by reducing the normal peak in seasonal demand.
“Once again our customers showed their commitment to energy conservation—and saving money,” said Steve Malnight, PG&E’s Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions. “We’re committed to helping them do both by offering creative and easy incentives like the Winter Gas Savings program.”
Among counties, El Dorado had the highest share of customers – 67 percent – who qualified for a rebate. They managed to save 18 percent of their gas consumption. In San Francisco County, 63 percent qualified, but they managed to save a remarkable 30 percent, the best performance in PG&E’s service area.
Some customers were surprised by the amount of their rebates; others assuredly were not. About 80,000 customers logged on to use PG&E’s new Facebook-enabled Winter Gas Savings Progress Tracker application that allowed them to follow their progress toward winning a rebate online—and adjust their behavior accordingly.
The Progress Tracker proved to be a powerful tool for saving money. Those who logged on saved 23 percent more gas than other customers. Those who used it early in the season saved 14 percent more than customers who logged in later on. And those who checked in four or more times saved 69 percent more than people who logged in only once.
Winter isn’t the only season when PG&E customers can enjoy special money-saving incentives to conserve energy. PG&E offers year-round rebates on hundreds of energy-efficient products, from refrigerators to water heaters. Going into the summer season, it also offers ways for electric customers with SmartMeters™ to save money with the SmartRate pricing plan.