PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Customer Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is integral to energy sustainability, which is why PG&E has worked for more than four decades to support customer efforts to reduce energy usage. Today, our commitment to helping customers save energy is stronger than ever. These programs help keep customer energy bills affordable, reduce energy demand on the grid and contribute to California’s clean energy goals.

Our Approach

PG&E’s energy efficiency programs are built on California’s pioneering energy efficiency model, which has helped keep the state’s per capita electricity consumption nearly flat since the 1970s. PG&E’s portfolio is designed to reach customers across all sectors using a variety of channels, from self-service software tools to PG&E’s business customer account representatives. To increase our impact, we also partner with state and local governments, community partners and trade professionals, and offer education and training to building professionals.

Our energy efficiency priorities include:

  • Working to reduce financial barriers to installing energy efficient equipment for residential, commercial and government customers.
  • Giving customers access to their data in coordination with tips, tools and programs to support smart energy planning and reduce their energy use.
  • Collaborating with retailers, distributors and others to increase the availability of high-efficiency products.
  • Supporting California’s decarbonization goals by advocating for building codes that offer feasible, cost-effective pathways to designing all-electric buildings and by developing statewide all-electric residential and non-residential new construction programs.
  • Providing technical support for local governments that choose to exceed minimum requirements for state building codes.
  • Supporting communities through proactive outreach and engagement with greenhouse gas emissions inventories, Climate Action Planning and local ordinances.

Our Energy Efficiency Business Plan lays out a vision for our energy efficiency programs over the next 10 years in alignment with California’s broader energy efficiency strategy. This includes changes in our approach to adapt to the state’s Senate Bill (SB) 350 goals, which call for a doubling of energy efficiency, as well as efforts such as Assembly Bill (AB) 793, which incentivizes the installation of energy management technology for residential and commercial customers.

PG&E’s plan for the future is built on three guiding principles:

  • Delivering simple, easy and effortless energy efficiency services to our customers
  • Orienting the energy efficiency portfolio towards building decarbonization to help combat climate change
  • Scaling cost-effective energy efficiency resources by integrating with other distributed energy resources, coordinating our strategy with other stakeholders and investing in reliable grid resources

2020 Milestones

Highlights from our customer energy efficiency program in 2020 include:

  • Supporting customers coping with COVID-19-related challenges. We enhanced rebates for smart thermostats for residential customers and ultra-low temperature freezers used for vaccine storage; expanded eligibility for contactless energy efficiency programs, such as our home energy reports that help customers understand and manage their energy use; and allowed small businesses to defer payment of on-bill energy efficiency financing loans.
  • Supporting local government policies that promote all-electric new construction. We have provided letters of support for all-electric new construction codes or ordinances to 28 cities and counties since July 2019.
  • Offering no-interest energy efficiency financing. Our on-bill financing program provides commercial customers and government agencies with loans for energy efficiency upgrades with no out-of-pocket costs and zero interest. In 2020, the program funded 707 loans worth a total of $57 million. Most loans went to small and medium businesses, and public organizations.
  • Helping industrial customers reduce their energy usage through Strategic Energy Management programs. These programs—which take a holistic approach to efficiency—retro-commission and upgrade equipment, work with industrial facility employees to pursue energy savings and provide planning resources for future energy needs. In 2020, PG&E’s program implementer completed two-year engagements at 22 sites, which are be expected to save 30 GWh and 1.8 million therms over the life of the equipment and interventions.
  • Advocating for stronger, cost-effective building codes and appliance standards and conducting training for 3,900 building and compliance industry representatives.
  • Continuing to offer education and training to architects and other building professionals, leveraging remote learning technology. In 2020, we trained approximately 19,800 participants and delivered more than 400 classes and webinars while also offering 55 on-demand classes. Going forward, we plan to enhance our virtual content, which, combined with distributed training locations, will reach a broader audience.

Measuring Progress

PG&E continued to deliver significant energy savings in 2020 through programs that incentivize and support customers who upgrade equipment or change behaviors, in addition to improving building codes and appliance standards.

Annual Energy Savings Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2019 2020
Gigawatt Hours (total) 1,253 1,732
Megawatts (peak) 253 291.9
Million Therms 27.6 35.8
  • 1. Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. Savings are calculated on a net basis, which excludes savings that would have been achieved in the absence of energy efficiency programs. All data is as filed with the CPUC in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Reports and available on the CPUC’s CEDARS website: https://cedars.sound-data.com/upload/confirmed-dashboard/PGE/2019. Annual energy savings shown above include savings from codes and standards programs and savings from Regional Energy Network or Community Choice Aggregator programs in PG&E’s service area, which represented approximately 1% or less of total annual savings.1
Annual Avoided Emissions Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2019 2020
CO2 Avoided (metric tons) 638,110 769,553
NOX Avoided (tons) 189 194
  • 1. Annual avoided emissions refer to the first-year net impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects, including codes and standards programs but not including savings from Regional Energy Network or Community Choice Aggregator programs in PG&E’s service area. Emissions avoided are calculated by the CPUC based on PG&E’s detailed energy savings reporting and are available at https://cedars.sound-data.com/reports/summary.1