PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

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Customer Energy Efficiency

For four decades, PG&E has partnered with our customers to help reduce their energy use. Through our leading portfolio of programs, we help keep customer energy bills affordable, maintain energy grid stability and meet California’s clean energy goals. We also work directly with customers through energy audits and home weatherization to make their residences more energy efficient. Key to our efforts is a broad spectrum of partners, including the private sector, nonprofits and local government agencies.

Our Approach

California’s Energy Efficiency Model

PG&E’s energy efficiency programs are built on California’s pioneering regulatory energy efficiency model, which has helped keep the state’s per capita electricity consumption nearly flat since the 1970s. In that same time period, the rest of the nation’s consumption has risen by 50 percent.

California has adopted among the strongest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in North America. Senate Bill (SB) 32 requires the state to cut GHG emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. SB 350 mandates a goal of doubling energy efficiency savings by 2030. As California’s largest energy provider, PG&E is committed to helping California achieve these goals.

In addition to this type of legislative framework and regulatory support, California’s energy efficiency model includes:

  • A “loading order,” which prioritizes reducing electricity demand through energy efficiency and demand response—ahead of renewable and conventional sources of energy
  • Decoupling gas and electric profits from energy sales—meaning PG&E does not make money through energy sales—which enables PG&E to aggressively pursue energy efficiency for customers without the prospect of a financial loss
  • Aggressive building codes and appliance standards that require Californians to build energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings
  • Ready availability of energy efficiency programs, training and strong customer interest

A Comprehensive Portfolio to Reach All Customers

As customers seek to understand, manage and reduce their energy use, PG&E endeavors to help by supplying detailed usage data. With that data, customers are able to track and understand their energy use and better control energy costs. We also provide rebates to encourage customers to purchase energy efficient products.

We reach customers through a variety of channels, from self-service software tools that provide customized energy insights to PG&E’s seasoned business customer account representatives, who provide ongoing support for commercial and industrial customers of all sizes. To increase our impact, we also partner with state and local governments, community partners and third-party energy efficiency specialists.

Our energy efficiency priorities include:

  • Working to reduce financial barriers for residential, commercial and government customers. Energy efficiency is the first step in reducing overall usage and key to reducing energy bills. We offer an energy efficiency financing program to address up-front cost barriers for commercial customers and government agencies. We also provide rebates to residential customers when they buy energy efficient appliances.
  • Giving customers access to their data to support smart energy planning. Understanding the energy efficiency opportunities unique to each customer is central to making smart decisions about investments in building upgrades. More and more, customers want control and access to their energy usage information, so PG&E is working with manufacturers to promote internet-connected appliances.
  • Collaborating with retailers, distributors and others to increase the availability of high-efficiency products. We provide incentives to retailers for stocking, promoting and selling energy efficient products. We support a network of trade professionals who sell, install or service the products, and we partner with manufacturers and distributors by offering incentives for the sale of high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.
  • Advocating for stronger building codes and appliance standards. Since 1998, PG&E has continued to be an active member of a statewide team that has provided technical support for developing more than 120 energy-efficient building codes and 60 appliance standards in the state, as well as more than 120 federal appliance standards or test procedures.
  • Advancing Zero Net Energy (ZNE) design and technology. We continue to prepare for a future of ZNE with our hands-on display house, ongoing demonstrations, pilot projects and classes for building professionals. California’s goal is for all newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to be ZNE by 2020 and 2030, respectively.
  • Engaging communities through proactive outreach. We partner with local governments, school districts and community-based nonprofits to offer energy efficiency solutions and community outreach to expand customer participation in PG&E programs. Key to this support is PG&E’s network of local, regional and statewide government partnerships that implement energy efficiency and climate planning programs tailored to individual communities. We have served hundreds of cities, counties, small businesses and nonprofits, as well as thousands of low-income residential customers.

Education and Training in Energy Efficiency

PG&E operates three training centers that offer a variety of energy efficiency education and training programs for building professionals, including architects, designers, engineers, contractors and technicians:

  • Energy Training Center in Stockton
  • Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco
  • Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon

These centers offer specialized classes on topics such as residential building weatherization, constructing and maintaining energy efficient commercial buildings, and maximizing energy performance in commercial kitchens. PG&E also offers a Tool Lending Library that loans building-measurement equipment at no cost to anyone working on short-term energy efficiency projects.

To provide these courses, the centers collaborate with community colleges, trade and professional organizations, state colleges and universities, community-based organizations and other training providers.

2017 Milestones

Our customer energy efficiency programs continue to increase affordability and promote economic growth. Highlights from 2017 include:

  • Expanded our energy efficiency financing program, which provides commercial customers and government agencies with loans for energy efficiency upgrades with no out-of-pocket costs and zero interest. By the end of 2017, the program had funded more than 2,200 loans worth approximately $100 million. The majority of loans went to small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as local governments.
  • Offered education and training to architects and other building professionals to help them gain new skills and expertise in energy efficient design and construction at our three training centers, holding more than 350 classes, providing about 350 technical consultations and organizing 295 outreach events.
  • Adopted a Water-Energy Calculator to measure energy savings from water conservation measures. Customers who participated in PG&E’s energy efficiency programs reduced water usage by about 210 million gallons in 2017.
  • Achieved energy savings through energy management technologies and connected homes. We expanded the PG&E Marketplace tool to include smart thermostats, connected home products and connected applications, which help customers manage their energy use through data provided by PG&E’s Share My Data platform. We also launched a $50 smart thermostat rebate for customers.
  • Set the stage for Strategic Energy Management (SEM), which is a holistic, long-term, whole-facility approach to determine energy savings from activities at a facility, including capital projects, maintenance and operational improvements, as well as retro-commissioning. In 2017, PG&E completed a rigorous competitive bidding process to select third-party vendors with innovative SEM outreach approaches.

PG&E also engaged in foundational work to meet the CPUC’s new third-party energy efficiency program requirements for our energy efficiency portfolio in 2018 and beyond. In addition, PG&E partnered with the other investor-owned gas and electric providers to prepare for upcoming statewide solicitations and implementation of a new structure for statewide energy efficiency programs.

Measuring Progress

PG&E exceeded the CPUC’s energy savings goals for 2017, achieving savings of 1,487 GWh, 320 MW of peak load, and 33 million therms. These results helped save customers approximately $300 million on their energy bills and avoided the emission of more than 800,000 metric tons of CO2.

Annual Energy Savings Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2015 2016 2017
Megawatts (peak) 295 292 320
Gigawatt Hours (total) 1,392 1,406 1,487
Million Therms 23 24 33
  • 1. Annual energy savings refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. All data is as filed with the CPUC in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Reports.1
Annual Avoided Emissions Footnote 1 from Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
2015 2016 2017
CO2 Avoided (metric tons) 1,198,636 1,429,543 802,034
NOX Avoided (tons) 229 296 230
  • 1. Annual avoided emissions refer to the first-year impacts associated with installed customer energy efficiency projects. All data is as filed with the CPUC in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Energy Efficiency Program Portfolio Reports.1

Looking Ahead

PG&E’s ongoing commitment to energy efficiency programs and policies will continue to support California’s standing as the national leader in energy efficiency. In 2017, Pacific Gas and Electric Company filed its Energy Efficiency Business Plan, which 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 SB 350 goals, which call for a doubling of energy efficiency, as well as efforts such as Assembly Bill (AB) 793, which incentivize energy management technology for residential and commercial customers.

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

  1. Scaling energy efficiency in a cost-effective way,
  2. Making energy efficiency offerings easier to access by streamlining our portfolio, and
  3. Developing energy efficiency as a cost-effective grid resource that is integrated within PG&E with other distributed energy resources.