That envelope from Pacific Gas & Electric in your mailbox might not be your most recent utility bill.
Now that the majority of Napa homes have received Smart Meters, replacing the old analog meters, PG&E has begun mailing home energy reports to Napa residents. The personalized reports, which cover a one-month period or more, are part of a program designed to help customers save energy and money, PG&E said.
The reports show each resident or family’s home energy use compared to approximately 100 other similar-sized households within a mile of that home. Using the data, residents can better manage energy use and costs, the utility company said in a brochure that accompanies the personalized reports.
PG&E serves 56,493 customer accounts in ZIP code 94558, Moreno said. Of these, 4,770 have received a home energy report from PG&E. Data for ZIP code 94559 was not immediately available.
In one report, a graph showed that one Napa home used the most energy from 6-8 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. Another graph compared that home’s energy consumption to other similar homes as well as “efficient” similar homes. The report also detailed how much extra money that amount of energy usage costs the homeowner per year.
If PG&E customers log on to the PG&E website, they can also review exactly how much energy was used in their home, by hour and day.
The information can lead to energy savings, said PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno. “When consumers have greater awareness of their energy usage, they do take steps to conserve energy,” he said.
Moreno had some energy saving tips, and they start with the hot water heater.
“It’s generally the second largest consumer of gas in the house after the gas furnace,” and it’s used year round, he said. By setting the hot water temperature to 120 degrees, “that will be adequate for most folks,” he said.
Moreno suggested keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in summer. In the winter, keep it to 68 degrees or lower, he recommended.
“You can get quite a reduction in energy usage by just lowering the thermostat one degree in winter,” and the reverse in the summer, he said.
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are another easy fix. Compact fluorescents use about one-fourth the energy of a traditional incandescent lightbulb and last longer, Moreno noted. While they do cost more to purchase, “you can get the same amount of light for much less energy usage,” Moreno said. “Change out your five most used lights to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and you will notice a reduction in energy usage.”
Napans aren’t the only ones who are gaining access to such information. According to PG&E, 2 million households nationwide are already enrolled in similar reports programs, helping those users save more than $32 million annually.