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Simple Ways to Save Energy: Take Steps Now to Prepare for Incoming Excessive Heat Wave

Simple Ways to Reduce Energy Use During Hours When Grid Demand Peaks

It looks like tomorrow Thursday (September 1) will kick off a week of above normal temperatures throughout Northern and Central California.

As part of our ongoing series, Simple Ways to Save Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is helping customers prepare for the incoming excessive heat wave by sharing ways to reduce energy bills and stay safe.

During the summer especially during times of prolonged extreme heat, the air conditioner can account for as much as half of residential energy usage. This is the time to take simple steps to improve efficiency, every small action can add up when it comes to reducing energy and helping ease the strain on the grid during crucial hours.

Energy Savings Tips

Here are easy ways to lower AC costs and still stay cool indoors during the prolonged heat.

  • Adjust thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, after cooling the home to below-normal levels in the morning. Turn it off when away from the home.

  • Replace filters monthly

    Dirty air filters make the air conditioner work harder to circulate the air. Clean and/or replace air filters monthly to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

  • Close shades in the afternoon

    Sunlight passing through windows heats the home and makes the air conditioner work harder. Customers can block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on sunny days.

  • Avoid using the oven. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.

  • Enroll in PG&E’s new program, Power Saver Rewards. The free, voluntary program rewards participants for temporarily reducing energy use when demand is high. By conserving energy during Power Saver Rewards events coinciding with Flex Alerts customers earn $2 for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy saved. It’s easy to enroll and get rewarded for reducing energy use.

PG&E funds the operation of existing county- or city-run cooling centers throughout the state. These centers help fill a critical need for those who might not have the financial means to cool and shelter themselves from very hot and prolonged temperatures.

To find a Cooling Center near you, call your local city or county government, or call PG&E’s toll-free Cooling Center locator line at 1-877-474-3266 or visit

Customers can also enroll in free programs including Bill Forecast Alerts, and Budget Billing to spread energy costs evenly throughout the year.

Additionally, eligible customers may be able to sign up for income-qualified programs offering a monthly discount including the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) and the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Programs. Some customers may also qualify for the Energy Saving Assistance Program offering free improvements to make the home more efficient, safe and comfortable.

If the elevated heat leads to outages, PG&E has a plan to address any issues that come from the high temperatures and crews monitoring the situation are ready to respond.

PG&E’s plan includes closely monitoring grid conditions and having restoration and repair crews ready to immediately respond to potential heat-related outages. We encourage customers to be prepared, stay cool and hydrated and practice safety by developing an emergency plan and checking in on neighbors.

Outage safety tips

And here are ways for customers to stay safe if outages occur:

  • Have flashlights, radios, and fresh batteries ready. Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles, which pose a fire hazard.

  • Unplug or turn off all electric and heat-producing appliances (e.g., air conditioners, washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, irons) to avoid overloading circuits. Overloaded circuits can be a fire hazard once power is restored.

  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, and place extra containers of ice inside to preserve food. A full freezer will remain colder longer.

  • Keep important numbers (e.g., hospital, fire department, police, friends, relatives) near the phone.

Although we do not anticipate initiating any Public Safety Power Shutoff events over the next seven days, being prepared remains important. For more tips on how to stay safe and save energy this summer, visit

About PG&E

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 and




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