Helping customers maximize energy efficiency by debunking the top energy-saving myths

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OAKLAND, CA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The prolonged extreme heat of summer can drive up energy bills, which is why Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is making helping customers cut costs a priority. There are simple steps, free tools and programs to help minimize the impact of summer heat on energy bills. Unfortunately, common misconceptions about efficiency can not only increase energy consumption, but also cost customers money.

Three myths about saving energy in summer

  1. Myth: Turning the thermostat lower cools a house faster

    Fact: The cooling system delivers cooler air at maximum output when it is first turned on. So a lower temperature setting has little or no impact on how quickly a home cools down.
    • Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher if health permits when you are at home. For every degree that the air conditioning is set below 78 degrees, three to five percent more energy is used.

    • Benefit from smart thermostats and programmable features where available. Sign in to PG&E Intelligent AC program and get $120 off a new smart thermostat.

  2. Myth: Leaving fans on when you’re away keeps the home cool

    Fact: Fans move air, they don’t cool it. Leaving fans on when you are not in the house will not keep the house cool.
    • Ceiling fans help cool people down by evaporating sweat from the body. People stay cooler when a ceiling fan is on, not the room.

  3. Myth: Closing air vents saves energy

    Fact: While it may seem that closing air vents (louvers) in unused spaces could save energy, it requires the system to work harder, use more energy, and wear out faster. Closing vents applies back pressure to the channels being closed, which can increase channel leakage.
    • In addition, closing registers creates a pressure imbalance in your home that pulls unwanted outside air in through holes and cracks, causing the system to run longer to cool the home.

To improve energy efficiency in your home, here are steps to avoid bill surprises when mercury rises.

  • Pre-cool the house: Use the air conditioner early in the morning or overnight.
  • Separate small appliances and electronicssuch as coffee makers and printers when not in use
  • Change air filter regularly: A dirty air filter causes the air conditioner to work harder, which consumes more energy.
  • Close window covers: Keep blinds, drapes, and curtains closed to prevent the sun’s rays from heating up the house.
  • Avoid using the oven on hot days: Instead, cook on the stovetop, use a microwave, or grill outside.

Customers can also sign up for Bill Forecast Alerts, which allows PG&E to send notifications via email, SMS, or phone when energy bills are expected to exceed an amount you specify. This free and simple tool helps customers better manage their monthly energy bills and gives them time to reduce their home’s energy use before the next bill arrives. Other programs include Medical Baseline, which offers customers with certain medical conditions a lower monthly rate, and Budget Billing, which calculates energy costs for more predictable monthly payments.

In addition, eligible customers may be able to enroll in income-based programs that offer a monthly rebate, including the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs. Some customers may also qualify for the Energy Saving Assistance Program, which offers free improvements to make the home more efficient, safer and more comfortable.

For more money-saving tips this summer, visit www.pge.com/summer.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility company serving more than 16 million people in 70,000 square miles in northern and central California. See pge.com and pge.com/news for more information.

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