LOS ANGELES, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have announced that they have selected the State of California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Sempra Energy Utilities -- San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company -- and Southern California Edison to receive a joint award for the 2003 ENERGY STAR(R) for Regional, State and Community Leadership in Energy Efficiency Excellency. The state -- through its Flex Your Power campaign -- and the four utility companies joined forces to educate Californians about energy efficiency products and incentives. Californians responded by purchasing nearly 3 million qualifying ENERGY STAR(R) products that reduced energy usage by 30 megawatts. (One megawatt provides the energy used by approximately one thousand households.) Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co. and Southern California Edison also will receive the 2003 ENERGY STAR(R) Partner of the Year for New Homes from the EPA and DOE. The state and utilities will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., April 15, 2003. "The teamwork between the State of California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co. and Southern California Edison exemplifies the national, regional and local promotional work that successfully brings ENERGY STAR(R) to so many consumers," said Kathleen Hogan, director of EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division. "We are lucky to have these quality partners delivering community-based ENERGY STAR(R) resources." As part of their response to the energy crisis conditions of 2001, the state designed and ran a multi-million dollar energy conservation and efficiency campaign called "Flex Your Power," which involved paid media and more than a dozen major initiatives, including partnerships with businesses, local governments, schools, and consumers. One of the most effective of these initiatives was a partnership between the state and the investor-owned utilities, which joined together in a collaborative effort to make all of California's consumers aware of how they could save energy and money through energy efficiency. Both the Flex Your Power and the statewide utilities' campaign teamed television, radio and newspaper ads with outreach events and promotions through retailers and businesses to spread the energy efficiency message. In 2001, approximately 33 percent of residential customers and 27 percent of business customers reduced energy usage by 20 percent or more from prior years. To continue this momentum for customers, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to approve the utilities' and state's 2003 energy efficiency programs later this month. "By developing consistent rebate levels and a unified message, this coordinated public-private partnership was able to encourage consumers statewide to invest in ENERGY STAR(R) qualifying products and appliances," said Wally McGuire, coordinator of the state "Flex Your Power" campaign. "As a result, sales of some ENERGY STAR(R) qualifying appliances have risen more than 100 percent in California." California is also leading the way in building energy efficient homes -- homes that exceed state energy codes by more than 15 percent. More than one-third (21,500) of the 57,000 ENERGY STAR(R) homes being built in the United States are being constructed in California. The statewide effort has earned PG&E, SDG&E, So Cal Gas and SCE the ENERGY STAR(R) Partner of the Year for New Homes. "The partnership of the four utilities' statewide programs and the Flex Your Power campaign has helped make, ENERGY STAR(R) a household name in California, whether a builder is constructing a new home or business, a family is purchasing a new appliance or an existing business is cutting costs by installing energy efficient products," says Anne Smith, vice president of customer services, mass markets, for Sempra Energy Utilities, The Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric, "The Gas Company's customers recognize the ENERGY STAR(R) label as the product to purchase when meeting the highest level of energy efficiency." About California's Investor Owned Utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Sempra Energy Utilities -- San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company -- and Southern California Edison have a twenty-year history of running award-winning energy efficiency and conservation programs. For years, these four utilities have run energy efficiency programs with statewide rebates for ENERGY STAR(R) products at the heart of their campaigns. About Flex Your Power: California's "Flex Your Power" campaign was the most aggressive, comprehensive, and integrated energy conservation and efficiency effort in the history of the United States. Coordinated by the California State and Consumer Services Agency, the "Flex Your Power" campaign included a comprehensive statewide paid media campaign outreach undertaken by the Department of Consumer Affairs, efforts by numerous state and local governmental agencies to reduce energy use, and partnerships with the residential, business, agricultural, and industrial sectors to conserve energy during peak hours and use energy more efficiently at all times. As a result of these efforts, in 2001, California reduced its overall energy use by nearly 7 percent and up to 14 percent during peak hours. About ENERGY STAR(R): ENERGY STAR(R) was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency. Today, with assistance from the Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR(R) program offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 7,000 organizations have become ENERGY STAR(R) partners and are committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR(R), visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937). The Gas Company is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 18 million consumers through 5.1 million meters. The company's service territory encompasses 23,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California. The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community. The Gas Company is part of Sempra Energy Utilities, the umbrella for Sempra Energy's regulated California utilities. Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company