PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

Northern California Wildfires

Energy Affordability

At PG&E, we’re focused on keeping our energy service affordable while we work to meet the needs of our customers. PG&E’s average residential bill remains below the national average, thanks in part to our energy efficiency programs, which help customers save money by reducing their energy use. We also offer a number of financial assistance programs to help customers who are facing financial challenges.

Our Approach

Helping Customers Save through Energy Efficiency

PG&E’s suite of energy efficiency programs plays an essential role in energy affordability. Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s website includes an extensive set of energy-saving tips and lists of appliances and equipment that are eligible for rebates. It also provides tools like Home Energy Checkup and Home Energy Reports that help customers analyze their usage and pinpoint ways to save.

PG&E is also transitioning toward a new program model that will result in an updated portfolio of energy efficiency programs by 2020 that are proposed, designed and delivered by third parties. The goal of the initiative is to scale energy efficiency cost-effectively and make energy efficiency offerings easier to access for our customers.

In addition, PG&E is looking for new, more effective ways to motivate customers to make energy retrofits. For example, the Pay for Performance program, which launched in 2017, uses SmartMeter data to measure energy use before and after retrofits, without compromising customer privacy.

PG&E also offers customers a number of rate plans to choose from that provide opportunities to save while still meeting their energy needs.

  • Time-of-Use rates enable customers to save money by providing lower-cost energy during off-peak times of the day, encouraging them to shift energy usage from peak hours to less-expensive periods.
  • The SmartRate™ plan offers a reduced rate during certain months of the year, which enables customers to save money by conserving energy during as many as 15 SmartDays™ each summer, when rates are higher because demand for electricity is high.

Helping Customers in Need

PG&E works closely with customers facing financial challenges so they can continue to receive gas and electric service. PG&E supports programs designed for those in need, including:

  • The California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE), which offers a monthly discount on energy bills for income-qualified households and housing facilities. Qualified households can save 20 percent or more on their energy bills.
  • Budget Billing, which spreads costs out evenly over the year and eliminates swings in customers’ monthly energy bills caused by seasonal changes in usage.
  • The Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) plan, which pays up to $300 of the energy bill for income-qualified customers experiencing a crisis that prevents them from paying their gas or electric bill. This assistance program, funded in part with charitable dollars from PG&E Corporation shareholders, is administered by The Salvation Army.
  • The Family Electric Rate Assistance Program, which provides a monthly discount on electric bills for income-qualified households of three or more people.

In addition, discounts are available for customers that have special energy needs due to certain qualifying medical conditions.

Providing Assistance to Businesses

PG&E’s economic development team also provides one-on-one assistance to current and future commercial and industrial customers who are considering competing locations inside or outside California. The team directly supports local efforts to attract, retain and grow companies by helping them analyze and lower their energy costs through a variety of programs.

We also work to help keep jobs in California and bring new jobs to the state. We offer an Economic Development Rate to businesses with higher energy loads who are considering locating in California, relocating from California to other states or closing their existing California operations. Eligible companies can receive a 12 percent rate reduction for five years. Companies located in cities and counties where the annual unemployment rate is at least 25 percent higher than the state average can receive a 30 percent rate reduction for five years.

2017 Milestones

In 2017, we continued to aid customers in need through our financial assistance programs:

  • CARE: Over 1.4 million customers, or 89 percent of those who were eligible, received discounts through the CARE program in 2017. Since the program’s inception in 1989, PG&E CARE customers have saved $8.8 billion on their energy bills.
  • Budget Billing: Approximately 214,000 customers participated in the Budget Billing program in 2017. This program helps customers with high seasonal bills even out their energy payment so that they are more manageable.

We also continue to contribute to local economic and community vitality through our economic development rate. With PG&E’s support, more than 40 companies have signed up for the rate since 2014, creating almost 5,000 local jobs and enhancing economic vitality in communities across PG&E’s service area.

We also continued to enable and support energy savings through a suite of energy efficiency options, different rate plans, demand response options and engagement campaigns to help customers save energy and money.

Measuring Progress

PG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program helps income-qualified customers who are also CARE customers reduce energy use and better manage costs through a variety of energy education and energy efficiency measures, including home weatherization to reduce air flow in and out of the home and guidance to help reduce water use.

Home Weatherproofing Improvement Projects through Energy Savings Assistance Program
2007 63,319
2008 61,034
2009 81,308
2010 133,329
2011 128,071
2012 115,229
2013 123,566
2014 123,539
2015 100,573
2016 74,319 Footnote 1
2017 87,052
2018 94,500 Footnote 2
  • 1. In 2016, PG&E’s efforts were impacted by challenges enrolling new, hard-to-reach customers and the timing of regulatory approval for Energy Savings Assistance Program funding.1
  • 2. Projected2

Average PG&E residential bills for gas and electric service remain below the national averages, according to figures compiled by leading trade associations.

The average PG&E residential electric customer paid $94.69 per month, which was about 3 percent less than the national average of $97.41. Data is from 2016, the most recent year for which comparative data is available.

The average PG&E residential gas customer paid $38.86 per month, which was 23 percent less than the national average of $50.33.

Average Monthly Electric Bills Footnote 1 (2016)
U.S. Average $97.41
PG&E Footnote 2 $94.69
Pacific $93.55
East North Central $86.18
Middle Atlantic $89.53
Mountain $94.39
West North Central $102.84
New England $97.73
West South Central $72.23
South Atlantic $123.24
East South Central $130.97
  • 1. Source: Edison Electric Institute, 2016 Statistical Yearbook1
  • 2. Source: FERC Form 12
Average Monthly Gas Bills Footnote 1 (2016)
U.S. Average $50.33
PG&E Footnote 2 $38.86
Pacific $40.58
Mountain $42.58
West South Central $38.83
East South Central $42.83
South Atlantic $50.17
West North Central $50.67
East North Central $57.08
Middle Atlantic $81.08
New England $81.08
  • 1. Source: American Gas Association, 2016 Gas Facts1
  • 2. Source: FERC Form 2 for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, for 20162

Looking Ahead

The way Californians are being charged for energy is changing. PG&E has been working with regulators, state officials and other stakeholders to more closely align the price customers pay for energy with the actual cost of providing that energy and to encourage residential customers to shift usage to times of day that support a cleaner, more reliable grid.

As part of a multi-year, statewide effort to create a smarter energy future and healthier environment while balancing the need to keep customer rates affordable, we simplified the structure for PG&E’s tiered rate plans by reducing the number of pricing tiers from three to two in 2017.

In addition, in 2018, PG&E introduced a new electric Time-of-Use rate plan to promote more efficient energy usage and provide customers with additional rate plan options. Approximately 150,000 residential electric customers transitioned onto the new rate plan, unless they chose another rate plan. Time-of-Use rate plans support a cleaner and more reliable energy grid by encouraging customers to shift electricity usage to the times of day when demand is lower and renewable resources, like solar power, are more plentiful.

Energy efficiency and other programs will remain at the heart of our efforts to help customers save money on their bills, including our CARE, REACH and Energy Savings Assistance Programs.