SAN FRANCISCO, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that customers with electric SmartMeters™ can save money this summer just by signing up for the SmartRate™ pricing plan and conserving energy on a handful of hot afternoons. Customers who participated in SmartRate™ last summer saved an average of eight to nine percent on their summer electric bills.
The plan gives customers a general price reduction of three-to-four cents per kilowatt-hour from June through September. On a few hot afternoons during the warm-weather season, when demand is especially high, the rate temporarily increases by 60 cents per kilowatt-hour to encourage customers to conserve and shift energy use outside of peak times. At most, only 15 "SmartDays" are called each season—and never on weekends or holidays.
"SmartRate lives up to its name by helping PG&E provide more affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy to our customers," said Steve Malnight, Vice President, Customer Energy Solutions at PG&E. "By reducing electricity usage during peak periods, we can buy less expensive power and ultimately pass the savings on to customers. By easing the burden on our electric grid, it reduces the chances of costly brownouts. And by conserving energy, it keeps the air cleaner and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Best of all, it's not hard to do."
Customers can save money by running dishwashers, dryers, vacuums, chargers, and other appliances in the morning or evening, and by setting their thermostat a few degrees higher during the afternoon. One SmartRate™ customer in Fresno advised, "I work until 5 p.m., so I take advantage of a SmartDay by planning ahead to do errands, shop, or see a movie on the way home so I always arrive after 7 p.m. SmartDays motivated me to organize my time and save energy, too! It's not hard."
Newly enrolled participants receive bill protection for their first full season on SmartRate™. With automatic bill protection customers will not pay more on the new pricing plan than on their previous plan.
PG&E first rolled out the SmartRate™ option to 10,000 customers in the Bakersfield area in 2008. Studies showed that it helped customers reduce demand by around 15 percent on peak SmartDays while achieving high rates of customer satisfaction.
Now that more than 90 percent of the utility's electric customers have SmartMeters™ installed, the option is available across PG&E's service area. As of June 20, 2012, more than 45,000 customers were enrolled. To sign up, customers just log on to their My Energy page and click on the Enroll in SmartRate™ link on the lower left side.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)