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August 31, 2004 > PG&E Offers Alameda County Businesses Lower Rates and Financial Incentives for Reducing Energy Usage During High Demand Periods

PG&E Offers Alameda County Businesses Lower Rates and Financial Incentives for Reducing Energy Usage During High Demand Periods

Businesses Can Help Keep the Lights On in California by Participating in Programs

Pacific Gas and Electric Company today urged its business customers to sign up for the utility's new Demand Response Programs as a way not only to save money, but to reduce electricity demand on days when supplies are tight. Reducing peak demand helps lower the risk of the state declaring a power emergency, which might otherwise impact all customers.

Earlier this summer, as California was setting new electricity demand records, the California Independent System Operator (California ISO) issued warnings to residential and business customers that high peak energy usage could reduce the amount of reserves and lead to power emergencies.

With several more weeks of hot weather remaining this year, and the heightened threat of wildfires to transmission lines this fire season, continued conservation and energy efficiency efforts will play a key role in ensuring adequate electricity supplies for Alameda County and for all Californians. Businesses can help by participating in the new statewide Demand Response Programs. In fact, at a recent Energy Conservation Summit, Governor Schwarzenegger promoted these programs and other conservation efforts, and urged business and residential customers to take advantage of these initiatives.

PG&E's Demand Response Programs offer financial incentives for business customers who agree to reduce or completely cut off their power use when the California ISO declares a power emergency. The programs can also reward business customers for managing their electric load during days when shortfalls are predicted (also known as critical peak periods).
Reducing peak electric load on critical days not only contributes to higher levels of reliability, but also helps control power prices for all customers.

"PG&E is urging more businesses to take advantage of these programs because they not only help customers reduce their energy costs, but they also provide relief for the entire system when electricity demand is high," said Sharon Stout, East Bay Account Services Manager. "We want to give all our customers - business and residential - the information and the tools they need to effectively manage their power consumption all year round, but especially when usage reaches peak levels."

Participating business customers receive various incentives as well as access to PG&E's InterAct II, an Internet-based communications and information service that provides customers with details of their energy usage every 15 minutes. Through this technology, customers can monitor their consumption in real time and take steps to reduce their demand and lower their costs during peak periods.

The following programs are available to medium and large business customers (200 kW and above):
* Demand Bidding: Eligible customers earn bill credits for reducing power usage when contacted by PG&E. This is a no risk or penalty program for the customer.

* Critical Peak Pricing: Eligible customers receive lower summertime rates for contractually agreeing to reduce electricity usage during critical peak periods when declared by PG&E.

* E-SAVE: Eligible customers receive an incentive of 20 cents per kWh for reducing their power consumption by 20 percent when wholesale electricity prices are at or above 20 cents per kWh. (Example: A customer who conserves 1,000 kWh during an event would receive an incentive of $200.)

Pacific Gas and Electric Company currently has 49 business customers in Alameda County participating in various Demand Response Programs, providing nearly 39.8 megawatts (mW) in demand reduction capability. That is equal to the amount of electricity needed to power nearly 30,000 homes. (One megawatt of electricity is enough to power approximately 750 homes.)

Pacific Gas and Electric Company also has several other programs available to help business customers better manage their electricity costs, including rebates, incentives, energy surveys and payment options. To learn more and enroll in these and other energy saving programs designed for businesses in Alameda County; customers can contact their PG&E representative by calling our Business Customer Center at (800) 468-4743.

For more energy saving tips and programs available on our website, visit

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