Investing in Our Business to Better Serve Customers

Every day, PG&E works with its business customers to help meet their energy management needs. This includes Manzana Products Co. Inc., a food processing facility specializing in apples. Photo: Lewis Stewart
At PG&E, we are working every day to demonstrate operational excellence and keep a sharp focus on taking care of our customers. Given the continued challenges with the economy, we recognize the need to work smarter and in a way that is in step with, and responsive to, the customers and communities we serve.

Our work in 2009 was guided by five key business priorities: improve reliability; improve safety and human performance; deliver on budget, on plan and on purpose; champion effective regulatory and legislative policies; and drive customer satisfaction. Every month, we track and report internally our performance in each of the five areas.

We use a similar approach here to highlight important accomplishments and challenges from last year.


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Improve Reliability more...

One important benchmark of excellence is the reliability of the energy we deliver. Last year, we continued to invest heavily in increasing reliability and capacity across our extensive network of wires, pipes, generating stations and other essential assets. As a result, customers experienced outages less frequently than at any point in 22 years, and when they had an outage, those outages were shorter than at any point in 9 years. We also took a number of significant steps to strengthen the integrity of our gas distribution system and ensure the safe and reliable flow of gas to our customers.

Looking forward, we will continue our focus on the combination of strategic investments, more rigorous and efficient work practices and improved teamwork to further improve our reliability performance relative to industry peers.

Improve Safety and Human Performance more...

We continue to zero in on safety and our results reflect significant improvement. In 2009, we exceeded our goals in three important safety indicators—reducing our OSHA Recordable Rate by 26 percent, our Lost Workday Case Rate by 36 percent and our Motor Vehicle Incident Rate by nearly 18 percent. This improved performance can be attributed to enhanced training, improved work procedures and an increased emphasis on accountability.

However, our safety results are not yet where they must be. On-the-job tragedies took the lives of two employees last year. These losses served as somber reminders that we still have significant work ahead as we continue working to achieve an injury-free workplace and elevate the company’s safety performance to a level consistent with that of top performers in the industry.

Deliver on Budget, on Plan and on Purpose more...

PG&E achieved solid financial results last year, with a total shareholder return (stock price appreciation plus dividends) of 20 percent.

Major highlights last year included bringing PG&E's Gateway Generating Station into service ahead of schedule, within budget and with an exceptional safety record during construction. We also received approval to build 250 megawatts of PG&E-owned solar power and are seeking approval to purchase and operate a proposed major wind energy facility. And we began the multiyear regulatory process to renew the licenses for our Diablo Canyon Power Plant to ensure the ongoing safe and reliable operation of this critical source of carbon-free nuclear power. As we look forward, we will continue our efforts to simplify and improve our work processes, procedures and training so we can better serve customers.

Champion Effective Regulatory and Legislative Policies more...

We continued our focus on environmental leadership last year—from reducing energy consumption in our own facilities to enabling our customers to achieve gas and electric savings that exceeded the goals set by the state. In recognition of our sustainability commitment, we were honored to be one of only two U.S. utilities named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

We took significant steps last year to increase supplies of clean energy, signing 42 new renewable energy purchase contracts. We continue to work collaboratively to address the challenges of successfully siting, building and connecting renewable energy projects to the grid. Additionally, we will continue to actively work with policymakers to advance federal climate and energy legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions.

We are also focused on improving our environmental performance after receiving an increased number of violations last year for being out of compliance with various environmental requirements.

Drive Customer Satisfaction more...

We remain focused on better understanding and responding to the unique needs of different customers—with the goal of tailoring service offerings to more effectively match customers with the right products and programs.

Customer satisfaction rose last year as measured by a series of surveys of customers' views on reliability, pricing, service interactions and overall favorability. We attribute this increase to our marked improvements in electric reliability and our outreach to customers who were struggling to stay current with their bills. As one important measure, we enrolled more than 466,000 additional customers in PG&E's CARE Program, which provides a monthly discount on energy bills for income-qualified households.

We recognize the need for continued improvement and are more focused than ever on proactively communicating with customers about new technology, rates and the tools we have available to support sustainable customer energy solutions.