Winter chills mean the heating system and water heaters in your home may need to work harder, which ultimately impacts pocketbooks. And, this year, the commodity price of natural gas is rising across the nation and around the world, which will affect all of us. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) passes through the commodity cost of natural gas to our customers with no markup.
“We use various strategies throughout the year to secure favorable pricing for the natural gas we purchase for our customers, in addition to offering a variety of programs to help customers manage energy costs. As we continue to attempt to alleviate the price swings, we encourage our customers to take extra steps now that will help them get ready and save all winter long,” said Marlene Santos, PG&E’s Chief Customer Officer.
PG&E takes several steps to reduce the impact of volatile gas prices on our customers. These include:
- Buying natural gas at times throughout the year when it’s less expensive,
- Using our gas storage facilities like McDonald Island, as well as other independently owned gas storage fields in northern California to store less expensive gas purchases for cold winter months, when prices and customer demand are higher,
- Contracting for pipeline access to multiple gas production geographic areas to secure lower priced gas, and
- Engaging in financial hedging to limit the impact of price volatility on customer bills.
PG&E wants customers to be aware of ways to save energy and money as we head into the winter months. PG&E offers the following tips to safely reduce the cost of keeping warm.
- Lower thermostat: Setting the thermostat to 68 degrees (health permitting) during the cooler months can save up to 15% on energy bills. Save about 2% on your heating bill for each degree the thermostat is lowered (if the turndown lasts a good part of the day or night).
- Control water temperature: Set your water heater thermostat at 120°F or lower. This way you'll reduce the amount of energy it takes to produce and maintain your hot water by not overheating it.
- Stop drafts in their tracks: Save up to 10% on annual energy costs by reducing drafts and saving energy by sealing holes around pipes, wiring, vents or recessed lights with foam or caulk.
- Keep warm air moving: Reverse your fan in winter to produce a gentle updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling down into the living space.
- Don’t close vents in unused rooms: Closed registers force the same amount of air through other ducts. This builds pressure in the system and makes the HVAC work harder to distribute air where needed.
- Invest in energy-saving products: Install a programmable thermostat to save about $180 annually in energy costs.
- Enroll in a monthly discount program: Qualifying customers can apply for a monthly discount through the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE)
- Get help making energy-saving improvements: Qualifying customers can receive free energy efficiency upgrades through the Energy Savings Assistance Program.
For more tips on saving energy this winter, 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.