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Utility Works To Keep Customers Cool Despite Summer Heat

With more triple digits anticipated before the summer is over, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is prepared to meet increased electricity demand with new energy supply, and programs offering customers incentives for adjusting energy use to help reduce demand.

Significant energy supply has been brought online in the last few years, including battery storage that enhances overall grid reliability, integrates renewable energy, and helps reduce customer costs.

In August of 2020, PG&E had just 6.5 megawatts (MW) of battery energy storage connected to the power grid. By September this year, it expects to have 1,700 MW online, or enough to meet the instantaneous demand of 1.2 million homes at once. PG&E has contracts for battery energy storage systems totaling more than 3,000 MW to be deployed over the next few years.

“PG&E is working with the state’s energy agencies and doing our part to help ensure safe and reliable electric service this summer. We’re continuing to bring online new resources like battery energy storage, including an additional 700 MW than we had available to serve customers last summer,” said Gillian Clegg, PG&E Vice President, Energy, Policy and Procurement.

PG&E also is modifying and expanding existing Demand Response (DR) programs which help reduce energy demand. These programs offer financial incentives for residential and business customers who reduce their energy use during peak demand times. PG&E finds it can reduce energy demand on the grid by up to 900 MW, or the equivalent instantaneous demand of approximately 650,000 homes, through its load management programs and contracts, when large numbers of customers participate.

Californians can count on more hydroelectric power this summer. According to the California Department of Water Resources, many parts of the state received precipitation levels this year that were 100 to over 200 percent of average. The state also had the largest snowpack since 1983. Storage in PG&E’s 16 largest reservoirs is approximately 109 percent of average for this time of year.

PG&E expects to have adequate hydropower to help meet peak summer demand periods. Hydropower is a cost-effective form of power generation, especially in wet years. An abundance of hydropower this year will help offset some of the need for other higher cost generation.

Throughout the summer months, PG&E is sharing information with its customers about how they can take action to help reduce energy demand during hot, summer days when energy demand rises.

A few simple steps customers can consider:

Put off energy-intensive chores like washing dishes and laundry until off-peak hours, before 4 p.m. and after 9 p.m. every day.

Install and use a programmable thermostat. These devices allow you to cool your home during times when energy is less in demand and less expensive.

Sign up for CAISO Flex Alerts which are calls for conservation during peak energy demand hours.

Enroll in the Power Saver Rewards Program for residential customers. Over 1.6 million customers are enrolled in the free program, which rewards customers for temporarily reducing energy use when the CAISO calls a Flex Alert. Customers earn $2 for each kilowatt-hour of energy saved. Last year, approximately 60 MW were saved during each event, and PG&E customers received over $55 million in bill credits.

For more information and ways to save this summer go to www.PG&