Customer Energy Efficiency

For more than 30 years, PG&E has championed energy efficiency, implementing a diverse array of programs, services and campaigns aimed at helping our customers save energy and money. In total, PG&E’s programs have avoided the release of more than 180 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, based on cumulative lifecycle gross energy savings.

Our customers fund these programs through “public purpose program” charges embedded in gas and electric rates. This funding allows us to offer a broad portfolio of programs that includes a mix of rebates and financial incentives, training and education, support for commercializing new and emerging technologies and other activities, such as advocacy for stronger building codes and appliance standards.

Energy Efficiency Results

PG&E’s gas and electric energy efficiency programs and goals are authorized by the CPUC on a three-year program cycle. For the 2010 to 2012 cycle, we have a budget of $1.3 billion—the largest investment in energy efficiency by any U.S. utility. PG&E’s savings goals for the three-year period are 3,110 GWh, 703 MW and 48.9 million therms.

PG&E exceeded the CPUC’s energy savings goals for 2011, achieving savings of 1,519 GWh, 270 MW and 33.2 million therms. These results helped save customers more than $262 million on their energy bills and avoided the emission of nearly 840,000 metric tons of CO2 and 245 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOX).

Click on the links below to review various charts showing customer energy savings and the associated avoided emissions.

Chart: Annual Energy Savings¹ from Customer Energy Efficiency Program

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects.

2 Data (gross energy savings) is taken from Table 1 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

3 Source is CPUC Decision 09-09-047.

Chart: Annual Energy Savings¹ from Customer Energy Efficiency Program, 2006–2011

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects.

2 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2006, filed with the CPUC on November 15, 2007.

3 Net actual energy savings, as measured against net energy savings goals for 2006 through 2008 established in CPUC Decision 04-09-060.

4 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2007 and 2008, both filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2009.

5 Data (gross energy savings) is derived from the 2009 4th Quarter Report to the CPUC, dated March 26, 2010. The gross energy savings are measured against gross energy savings goals for 2009 through 2012 established in CPUC Decision 09-09-047. Prior to 2009, energy savings were measured in “net” energy savings.

6 Data (gross energy savings) is taken from Table 1 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

Chart: Lifecycle Energy Savings¹ from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Lifecycle energy savings refer to the estimated energy efficiency savings over the expected lifetime of the installed customer energy efficiency projects.

2 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2006, filed with the CPUC on November 15, 2007.

3 Net actual energy savings, as measured against net energy savings goals for 2006 through 2008 established in CPUC Decision 04-09-060.

4 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2007 and 2008, both filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2009.

5 Data (gross energy savings) is derived from the 2009 4th Quarter Report to the CPUC, dated March 26, 2010. The gross energy savings are measured against gross energy savings goals for 2009 through 2012 established in CPUC Decision 09-09-047.

6 Data (gross energy savings) is taken from Table 1 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

Chart: Annual Avoided Emissions¹ from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Annual avoided emissions refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. The CO2 avoided emissions above are reported in metric tons; the Energy Efficiency Annual Report reports CO2 in short tons.

2 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2006, filed with the CPUC on November 15, 2007.

3 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2007 and 2008, both filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2009.

4 Data (gross energy savings) is derived from the 2009 4th Quarter Report to the CPUC, dated March 26, 2010. The gross energy savings are measured against gross energy savings goals for 2009 through 2012 established in CPUC Decision 09-09-047. Prior to 2009, energy savings were measured in “net” energy savings.

5 The 2010 annual tons of CO2 and NOX avoided were updated based on the updated gross energy savings from Table 2 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

6 The 2011 annual tons of CO2 and NOX avoided are taken from Table 2 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

Chart: Lifecycle Avoided Emissions¹ from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Lifecycle avoided emissions refer to the estimated avoided emissions over the expected lifetime of the installed customer energy efficiency projects. The CO2 avoided emissions above are reported in metric tons; the Energy Efficiency Annual Report reports CO2 in short tons.

2 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2006, filed with the CPUC on November 15, 2007.

3 Data (net energy savings) is updated from Tables 1 and 2 of the Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Annual Report for 2007 and 2008, both filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2009.

4 Data (gross energy savings) is derived from the 2009 4th Quarter Report to the CPUC, dated March 26, 2010. The gross energy savings are measured against gross energy savings goals for 2009 through 2012 established in CPUC Decision 09-09-047. Prior to 2009, energy savings were measured in “net” energy savings.

5 The 2010 lifecycle tons of CO2 and NOX avoided were updated based on the updated gross lifecycle energy savings from Table 2 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

6 The 2011 lifecycle tons of CO2 and NOX avoided are taken from Table 2 of the 2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Report, filed with the CPUC on May 1, 2012.

Chart: Three Year Energy Savings¹ Goals from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1 Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects.

2 CPUC Decision 09-09-047 established gross energy savings goals for 2009 through 2012.

A Broad Portfolio of Programs

At PG&E, we put our customers at the center of how we design our energy efficiency programs. In fact, we maintain a portfolio of 130 energy efficiency programs, all of which come together to serve the unique needs of our different customers.

Energy Upgrade California is a new, statewide program that offers incentives to homeowners who complete comprehensive energy-saving home improvements on a single-family residence. These incentive packages encourage customers to take a “whole house” approach by combining several related improvements at once to increase a home’s overall energy efficiency and achieve greater savings.

As part of this statewide effort, PG&E launched its Whole House Program in 2010. The effort included extensive outreach to homeowners and outreach to recruit and train contractors, leveraging our Energy Training Center in Stockton and industry partners. Nearly 1,000 homes had energy efficiency measures installed throughout our service area last year.

Reflecting the diversity of our customer base, our programs cover a wide variety of market segments: agriculture and food processing, high tech, retail, schools, small and medium business, and residential customers, among others. A group of seasoned business customer account representatives works directly with large commercial and industrial customers. In 2011, as part of an enhanced effort to reach small and medium businesses, we launched a pilot outreach campaign in Kern and Sonoma counties to explore opportunities to better deliver energy efficiency programs and products to this segment of customers. We also serve customers through partnerships with state and local governments and through third-party energy efficiency specialists.

As we carry out these programs, we use different approaches to reach the maximum number of customers in the most cost-effective way:

  • Directly encouraging customers to purchase energy efficient products through rebates and incentives. For example, we give money back to customers who purchase energy-efficient home appliances such as refrigerators, clothes washers, air conditioners and water heaters.
  • Working with retailers, distributors, vendors, trade professionals and contractors to increase the accessibility of high efficiency products with consumers. This includes providing incentives to encourage increased stocking, promotion and sales of high-efficiency lighting products and TVs.
  • Partnering with manufacturers and distributors to increase the market share of higher efficiency products. This includes offering incentives to distributors who sell qualifying high-efficiency HVAC equipment.

Our team of experts also provides technical assistance to help the California Energy Commission (CEC) set new efficiency requirements for buildings and appliances.

For example, PG&E actively supported an energy efficiency standard for battery charger systems that was adopted by the CEC in early 2012. There are an estimated 170 million chargers in California households, an average of 11 battery chargers per household. Once fully implemented, California customers will save more than $300 million annually and eliminate one million metric tons of carbon emissions.

Workforce Education and Training

PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center celebrated its 20th anniversary last year—a major milestone on its quest to help architects, engineers, developers and building operators design and maintain energy-efficient commercial buildings.

Photo: Joseph Dannels

The center hosts courses on energy efficiency, demand response and renewable energy, some at the center and others throughout PG&E’s service area. Since 2006, the center has provided more than 920 unique courses, 950 technical consultations and 600 outreach events. Last year alone, the center hosted about 8,000 students.

One of the center’s most popular features is its Tool Lending Library. Anyone working on short-term energy-efficiency projects can borrow building measurement equipment at no cost—everything from humidity probes to infrared cameras that calculate an object’s surface temperature. The center also has a library and a resource specialist to help building developers research energy efficiency-related topics.

The center is one of three PG&E centers devoted to promoting energy-efficient buildings. PG&E also has a center in Stockton for residential buildings and one in San Ramon that caters to restaurants and buildings for the food industry. PG&E’s Energy Training Center in Stockton is the longest continuously operating weatherization training center in the nation, supporting the state’s efforts since 1978. Over time, the center has trained more than 91,000 participants who, in turn, have performed energy audits, weatherization or home performance services for more than two million Californians.

Helping Cities Reduce Energy with LED Street Lamps

An increasing number of cities are taking advantage of a PG&E program to replace traditional street lamps with energy-saving LED models. Compared with traditional street lights, LEDs use about 50 percent less electricity and last up to five times longer. Energy savings help cities reduce their monthly utility bills, allowing them to invest in other city projects.

Before (left): The orange glow of high-pressure sodium vapor lights in Chico.
After (right): New LED lights give a more natural, daylight-feel to the same street.

PG&E launched its LED Street Light Turnkey program in late 2009. Since then, more than 65 cities from Arcata, near the California-Oregon border, to the San Joaquin Valley have swapped street lamps as part of this program.

In 2011, PG&E contracted and installed streetlights with more than 40 cities to convert more than 14,800 streetlights to LED. To date, these cities have achieved more than $760,000 in first year energy cost savings.

Learn more about the streetlight program and incentives.

Recognizing Zero Net Energy Building Designs

Requiring that all new buildings be zero net energy (ZNE) is a state policy goal adopted by the California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, California Public Utilities Commission and the Governor’s office. New residential buildings must be ZNE by 2020, and commercial buildings must be ZNE by 2030. Achieving this goal will require an intense focus on reducing energy consumption through state-of-the-art design and technology, with grid-connected renewable energy to minimize each building’s residual carbon footprint.

As a step toward this goal, a PG&E-sponsored architectural design competition demonstrated the potential for ZNE residential construction. PG&E joined the San Francisco chapter of American Institute of Architects in announcing the winners of their first Architecture at Zero competition for ZNE building designs. The competing architects offered diverse concepts for an urban infill site in the city of Emeryville, with the design goal of producing as much clean energy as it would consume.

Helping Federal Customers Meet Energy Reduction Mandates

In an effort to help federal agencies meet federally mandated energy efficiency goals, PG&E manages energy efficiency turn-key projects for our federal customers through our Utility Energy Services Contract program. The program enables federal customers to partner with PG&E’s team of experts to meet their energy efficiency and renewable energy goals.

PG&E is currently completing a project for the NASA Ames Research Center—a site that plays a critical role in virtually all NASA missions in support of America’s space and aeronautics programs. The project encompasses more than one hundred buildings at the Center and covers more than two and half million square feet.

The array of energy conservation measures at the site will save the Center 9 GWh, 1.3 million therms and more than 15 million gallons of water annually. This equates to an 11 percent reduction in annual energy intensity (BTU per square foot) and a 25 percent reduction in annual water consumption. The Center will also save more than $1.5 million annually in water and energy costs.

Supporting Innovative Local Projects

Through our Innovator Pilots Program, we are helping communities test out new ways of achieving deeper energy savings. The program provides competitive funding to local, regional and sub-regional governments to support innovative and creative approaches to energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Projects were selected based on their likelihood of being scalable and replicable throughout our service area.

We selected eight projects in 2011.

Local Government Project
City of San Francisco Study opportunities for how newer, more efficient refrigeration equipment can provide a cost-effective option for small and medium businesses.
Mendocino County Develop a program to bring energy efficiency to hard-to-reach communities by embedding practices into public housing authority policies and procedures and internal operations.
Humboldt County Test the Redwood Neighborhood Energy Challenge concept, which will use community-based social marketing to engage neighborhoods and individuals to reduce a local school’s energy consumption.
Santa Clara County Develop a program to create benchmarking standards for correctional facilities, which are high consumers of energy and can pose unique challenges for implementing energy efficiency.
Cities of Albany, Benicia, El Cerrito, Moraga, Orinda, Piedmont and San Pablo Increase energy management activity in small local governments by developing a partnership of small cities backed by a technical support team.
San Luis Obispo County Test the concept of group purchasing of energy efficiency (pooling the buying power of more than one facility) for small and medium businesses, saving time and resources while reducing energy costs.
Napa County Develop, test and evaluate strategies to educate building maintenance staff and occupants about systems, procedures and day-to-day behaviors that will improve energy efficiency, assure comfort, reduce operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Alameda County Develop a tool that, by making the energy performance of housing more transparent, helps buyers and renters take energy efficiency into account when making housing decisions and encourages building owners to improve facility energy efficiency.