SAN DIEGO, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Saving energy is more important than ever this month for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers with high energy use who are likely to see an increase in their bills based on September usage.
With increased energy usage comes higher bills. With a surge in air-conditioning use during the recent heat wave, coupled with a rate increase that took effect Sept. 1, some customers are likely to see a spike in their next utility bill. More hot weather is expected this month, and SDG&E is reaching out to offer tips and solutions to help both residential and business customers find smart ways to reduce their energy use now to avoid being surprised by high bills.
The rate increase affects all business customers and a quarter of residential customers—those in Tiers 3 and 4, who are higher energy users, and whose monthly bills are at least $80.
Even those who are not affected by the increase could see higher bills simply because they used more electricity to stay cool. There is still time during this extended hot spell for customers to make changes in how they use electricity and start reducing their bills now.
"Energy-efficiency efforts that cut back on electricity use and help to reduce your bill make sense year round," said Caroline Winn, SDG&E's vice president of customer services. "While only some SDG&E customers will see their rates increase this month, many customers' bills could go up due to hotter weather and increased air-conditioning use that pushes them into a higher-cost usage tier. SDG&E has a wide variety of tools and tips available for both business and residential customers to help them make smarter energy decisions and save energy."
SDG&E customers can take advantage of several tools and programs to help gain control of their energy use and find the best ways to save. With smart technology, customers no longer have to wait for their bill each month to find out how much energy they're using. Instead, today customers can take an active role in reducing their use through the following options:
- Set your A/C to 78°F between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Use fans. Use a ceiling or portable fan instead of A/C.
- Power down equipment. Unplug TV, cable, DVD or gaming devices when idle or use a smart power strip.
- Change filters regularly. Make sure the filter in your central A/C is clean to help it run more efficiently.
- Install weather stripping. Keep cool air in with weather stripping on doors/windows.
- Use a pool or spa cover. Covers can reduce heat loss by up to 90 percent.
- Switch off and replace. Turn lights off when you leave a room and replace regular bulbs with CFLs.
- Filter pools and spas in the early morning or after the sun goes down.
- Install window coverings. Install shade trees, awnings or blinds over brightest windows.
- Monitor your energy use. Check out Energy Charts, a new online tool through My Account.
Additionally, residential customers can sign up for a weekly energy-use summary email to see how much energy they used each day during the previous week and what usage tier they are in—log into My Account, click on My Energy, and click on "Sign Up for Energy Use Email" under "Related Links." SDG&E also recommends signing up to receive alerts the day before a Reduce Your Use day, when you can earn bill credits for saving energy on hot summer days between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., when electricity demand is high.
Energy-saving tips for business customers
- Sign up for My Account to get an at-a-glance view of your energy use with the energy management tool under the My Energy tab. With this tool, you can:
- See an overview of your energy use;
- Get current bill and a forecasted bill for the month;
- Review your hourly, weekly or monthly energy use;
- Take the My Energy Survey for an online audit of your business' energy use, and get specific tips on the best ways to reduce your use.
- Control sunlight – Let the sun and heat in when you want it and block it when you don't.
- Control your thermostat by assigning responsibility to one employee.
- Keep the doors closed – If you have door closers, inspect and adjust them as needed. Close drapes, shades and blinds.
- Turn off equipment whenever you can.
- Make sure computers are turned off at the end of the day and when not in use.
- Time your electricity use. If you're on a time-of–use-rate, manage electricity use to avoid on-peak time periods.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs like CFLs or LEDs.
- Check lighting occupancy/motion sensors for proper operations.
Additionally, a total of ten third-party Green Button tools and services are now available for SDG&E customers to choose from, including some specifically designed for business customers. Green Button Connect My Data was launched by SDG&E as part of an industry-led initiative that started with a challenge from the White House for utilities to develop a tool that would allow customers to authorize third parties to securely access their energy usage data on an automated and daily basis.
A common myth related to energy use is related to how SDG&E makes money —the fact is that SDG&E does not make money on how much energy its customers use, but rather on its long-term investment in infrastructure. Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has set up an incentive mechanism, which was updated and revamped with a Sept. 5 CPUC decision which underscores the state's commitment to energy efficiency as the preferred way to meet California's energy demand and allows California's investor-owned utilities to earn incentive awards by meeting or exceeding designated energy efficiency goals in specific categories.
For more details on the rate increase, who is affected, and how to reduce your energy use and save money, visit sdge.com/2013rates. Visit sdge.com/save-money for more information on ways to save money every day or call Energy Savings Center at 1-800-644-6133 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to talk to an energy service specialist.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and 860,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Connect with SDG&E's Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, on Twitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.
SOURCE San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)