OAKLAND, Calif.— With winter in full swing, customers may be using more energy to heat their homes as temperatures drop. At the same time, the prices that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) pays for the natural gas it delivers to its customers have been rising this year, driven by higher demand and tighter supplies on the West Coast.
While customers may see their energy bills rise, PG&E does not control the market prices it pays for gas and electricity, nor does PG&E mark up the cost of energy it purchases on behalf of its customers.
PG&E provides additional information about higher gas bills on its Currents website. The site also has information about the California Climate Credit. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved distributing the credit as soon as possible, instead of the annual April timeframe, to help offset higher than normal bills. For natural gas residential customers, the credit will be $52.78, and for electric residential customers, the credit will be $38.39. Customers who receive both services will receive a total credit of $91.17.
Here are tools that customers can use now to manage winter bills:
- Make sure you’re on the right rate plan: View your personalized Rate Plan Comparison to find the best rate plan for how your household uses energy.
- Keep bills predictable: Level out monthly payments and offset high seasonal bills with Budget Billing, a free tool that averages your annual energy costs to help manage monthly bills.
- Flexible payment arrangements: Extend your bill due date or make a payment arrangement. Access your online account for details.
Customers struggling to pay their bills can learn more about the following programs:
- California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) saves 20% or more each month on energy bills for income-qualified customers.
- Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Program (FERA) offers a monthly discount on electric bills for income-qualified customers with three or more people in the household.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers up to $1,000 to pay eligible household energy costs.
- Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) Program offers one-time financial assistance to qualified customers with past-due bills.
Customers may qualify for several programs at once and can start applying or enrolling now.
Here are simple steps customers can take to reduce energy costs this winter:
- Dial down your thermostat. You can save about 2% of your heating bill for each degree you lower the thermostat, heath permitting (if the turndown lasts a good part of the day or night). Turning down from 70 to 65 degrees, for example, saves 10%.
- Keep areas around vents open: Furniture and carpet can block heating vents, which makes heating systems work harder and prevents rooms from heating quickly.
- Wash in cold water: Save on water heating costs and wash only full loads of laundry in cold water.
- Use your window coverings: Open curtain and blinds to warm and light your home during the day and close them at night to help keep out the cold.
- Lower your water heater temperature: By setting your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit you can reduce the amount of energy it takes to produce and maintain hot water.
For more easy tips for cold weather savings, visit www.pge.com/winter.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.