PG&E employee speaking with residential customer

Customer Energy Efficiency

PG&E works with a broad spectrum of partners—from nonprofits to local government agencies to the private sector—to deliver innovative energy efficiency programs to customers. Our goal is to provide customers with energy-saving options that can be customized to fit their individual needs. And the results have been substantial: over nearly four decades, PG&E’s energy efficiency programs have helped avoid the release of more than 375 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions based on cumulative lifecycle gross energy savings.

Our Approach

California’s Energy Efficiency Model

PG&E’s energy efficiency programs play a key role in California’s energy efficiency model. Since the 1970s, these measures have helped keep the state’s per capita electricity consumption nearly flat while the rest of the nation’s consumption has risen by 50 percent.

California continues to move aggressively to combat climate change and promote energy efficiency, most recently through the passage of SB 350 and AB 802, both of which PG&E supported. SB 350 doubles the state’s energy efficiency goals by 2030, while AB 802 requires a new statewide building energy use benchmarking and public disclosure program.

In addition to this type of legislative and regulatory support, California’s energy efficiency model includes:

  • A “loading order,” which makes energy efficiency the first preferred option for meeting new customer energy demand—ahead of renewable and conventional sources of energy
  • Decoupling utility profits from energy sales, which enables PG&E to aggressively pursue energy efficiency without the disincentive of a financial loss
  • Aggressive building codes and appliance standards that require Californians to build energy efficient homes and commercial buildings
  • Ready availability of energy efficiency programs, training and strong customer participation

A Comprehensive Portfolio to Reach All Customers

One of PG&E’s top priorities is to help our residential and commercial customers understand, actively manage and reduce their energy use. One way we do this is by supplying detailed usage data so customers can track their energy consumption throughout the month to better control energy costs. We also provide incentives to encourage customers to purchase energy efficient products.

Woman working on radiator

Home upgrade program saves thousands of customers energy and money

More than 10,000 PG&E customers have completed the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program and received more than $27 million in total incentives to help offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades.

The Home Upgrade program encourages homeowners to take a comprehensive, whole-house approach to energy efficiency to maximize savings, rather than making upgrades one at a time. Participating customers reduced their home energy usage by an average of 18 percent, with some customers saving as much as 63 percent.

Our Home Energy Reports show how a customer’s energy use compares with similar homes in the neighborhood and offer savings tips and news about PG&E’s energy efficiency programs and incentives. We also serve customers through partnerships with state and local governments, community partners, and third-party energy efficiency specialists.

We reach customers through a variety of channels, from self-service software tools that provide customized energy insights to PG&E’s seasoned business customer account representatives, who provide ongoing support for commercial and industrial customers of all sizes.

For example, customers can help ensure energy efficiency at home with a free Home Energy Checkup. This simple web-based assessment allows customers to find out how much of their household’s energy goes to heating, hot water, appliances and lighting, and receive a customized list of tips to boost energy efficiency within their home.

Our energy efficiency priorities include:

  • Working to increase affordability of energy efficiency for residential, commercial and government customers. We offer an energy efficiency financing program to address up-front cost barriers for commercial customers and government agencies. We also give money back directly to customers who buy energy efficient home appliances such as clothes washers and water heaters.
  • Collaborating with retailers, distributors and others to increase the availability of high-efficiency products. We provide incentives to retailers for stocking, promoting and selling energy efficient products. Even small per unit incentives can be significant to a retailer. We tap into a network of trade professionals who sell, install or service products, and partner with manufacturers and distributors by offering incentives for the sale of high-efficiency HVAC equipment.
  • Advocating for stronger building codes and appliance standards. Since 1998, PG&E has been and remains an active member of a statewide team that has provided technical support for 114 building codes and 54 appliance standards in the state, as well as more than 100 federal appliance standards or test procedures.
  • Advancing Zero Net Energy (ZNE) design and technology. We continue to prepare for a future of ZNE homes with our hands-on classroom, ongoing pilots and research, and technical assistance for architects and builders. California’s goal is for all newly-constructed residential and commercial buildings to be ZNE by 2020 and 2030, respectively.
  • Engaging communities through proactive outreach. We actively partner with local governments, school districts and community-based nonprofits to offer energy efficiency solutions and reach out to communities to expand participation in PG&E programs. The foundation of this support is PG&E’s network of local, regional and statewide government partnerships that implement energy efficiency and climate planning programs tailored to individual communities. We have served hundreds of cities, counties, small businesses and nonprofits, as well as thousands of low-income residential customers.

Education and Training in Energy Efficiency

At our three training centers, PG&E offers a variety of education and training programs in energy efficiency for building professionals, including architects, designers, engineers, contractors and technicians.

The Energy Training Center in Stockton, the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco and the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon offer specialized classes on topics such as residential building weatherization, constructing and maintaining energy efficient commercial buildings and energy performance in commercial kitchens. PG&E also offers a Tool Lending Library that loans building-measurement equipment at no cost to anyone working on short-term energy efficiency projects.

To provide these courses, the centers collaborate with community colleges, trade and professional organizations, state colleges and universities, community-based organizations and other training providers.

2015 Milestones

Family in kitchen looking at laptop

Helping customers achieve big savings

Customers saved $227 million on their energy bills through PG&E’s energy efficiency programs in 2015. By participating in these programs, a typical PG&E residential customer saved $60 to $100 during the year, on average.

Our customer energy efficiency programs continue to increase affordability and promote economic growth. Highlights from 2015 include:

  • Expanded our energy efficiency financing program, which provides for energy efficiency upgrades with no out-of-pocket costs and zero interest. By the end of 2015, the program funded more than 1,300 loans worth more than $59 million. The majority of loans went to small- and medium-size businesses.
  • Launched the PG&E Simple Savings water-energy kit, where PG&E provides customers with $70 of energy efficient tools for $10. Thanks to the 20,000 kits purchased, each household is estimated to save about 23.8 kWh, 13 therms and 3,920 gallons of water annually—the equivalent of 225 showers.
  • Expanded our program with retailers, by piloting a program with ENERGY STAR staff and other gas and electric providers to bring energy efficient products to market. PG&E is now providing rebates on qualified models across five product categories at Home Depot, Best Buy, Sears and Kmart stores. This is an important step toward achieving California’s goal for a 40 percent reduction in plug loads (energy used by products powered by a plug) by 2020.
  • Advanced ZNE building design and technology, by piloting an integrated approach during the design and renovation of PG&E’s Stockton Regional Office building. The building features a high-performance building shell, energy efficient lighting and daylight-responsive lighting controls, and solar panels that provide 30 percent of the building’s energy use. We also achieved a 65 percent reduction in water use through drought-tolerant landscaping and rainwater harvesting. In addition, our onsite ZNE Display House will help us educate customers about residential and “beyond ZNE” building technologies.
  • Launched Step Up and Power Down, an initiative designed to engage owners, operators and employees of downtown businesses in San Francisco and San Jose in a community-wide movement to reduce energy waste. The campaign seeks to save energy through participation in PG&E’s energy efficiency programs and from everyday behavior changes. Within the first 8 months, more than 800 businesses in San Francisco and San Jose pledged to reduce energy waste. Step Up and Power Down also launched three residential initiatives in partnership with the local governments of Redwood City, San Carlos and Woodland to engage residential customers and help them reduce unnecessary energy use.
  • Introduced the PG&E Marketplace, a one-stop online shop for all energy saving appliances and consumer electronics—including those that offer customers money back via a rebate for items such as clothes washers and water heaters.
  • Offered education and training. PG&E helped architects and other building professionals gain new skills and expertise in energy efficient design and construction at our three training centers, holding 340 training sessions and providing more than 1,400 technical consultations.
Workers installing ceiling lights at North State Food Bank

Oroville food bank to save $10,000 annually through energy efficiency

The North State Food Bank made lighting and refrigeration upgrades at its 10,000 square foot warehouse and office location using PG&E rebates—replacing 150 older, less-efficient fluorescent fixtures with energy-saving LED bulbs, creating a brighter and safer workplace. The improvements, which also included upgraded motors for walk-in refrigeration, will reduce the food bank’s energy usage by about 52,000 kilowatt hours per year—the amount of energy used by seven average homes annually—and save about $9,900 a year.

Photo by Paul Moreno

Measuring Progress

PG&E exceeded the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) energy savings goals for 2015, achieving savings of 1,392 GWh, 295 MW of peak load and 23.4 million therms. These results helped save customers $227 million on their energy bills and avoided the emission of nearly 1.2 million metric tons of CO2—equivalent to taking over 250,000 cars off the road for one year.

Annual Energy Savings Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2013 2014 2015
Megawatts (peak) 160 164 295
Gigawatt Hours (total) 826 845 1,392
Million Therms 31 29 23
  • 1. Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. All data is as filed with the CPUC in PG&E’s Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Reports. Return to table
Annual Avoided Emissions Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2013 2014 2015
CO2 Avoided (metric tons) 721,569 776,851 1,198,636
NOX Avoided (tons) 213 211 229
  • 1. Annual avoided emissions refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. All data is as filed with the CPUC in PG&E’s Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Reports. Return to table

Looking Ahead

PG&E’s ongoing commitment to energy efficiency programs and policies will continue to support California’s standing as the national leader in energy efficiency. We are always looking for opportunities to do more to increase our impact, explore new partnerships and engage our customers.

For example, in 2016, we will continue to engage on the water-energy nexus—hosting seminars on model water efficient landscape ordinances, supporting a Zero Net Energy-Zero Net Water conference with the Society for Building Science Educators, and offering our annual Water Conservation Showcase.

In addition, we will introduce two additional product categories and additional retailer chains in 2017 as part of our program with ENERGY STAR and retailers. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, we will dedicate a ZNE home in 2017 and begin monitoring and documenting a full year of its performance. We will also promote ZNE through a commissioning class about the Stockton Regional Office and a ZNE display house iPad experience app.





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