PG&E launches new online tool to help customers measure energy savings

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced the launch of a new online tool to enhance its 2011-2012 Winter Gas Savings program. The PG&E Winter Gas Savings Progress Tracker app is the first Facebook-enabled, web-based tracking tool to help customers measure their progress toward meeting their energy savings goals.

The annual PG&E Winter Gas Savings program gives eligible residential and business customers an automatic bill credit of up to 20 percent when they reduce their natural gas usage in December 2011 and January 2012 compared to the previous three winters, adjusted for weather, the company said in a news release. During the 2011 program, some 2.7 million customers earned bill credits totaling $70 million.

The Progress Tracker app lets customers who have gas SmartMeters™ graphically compare their current estimated average daily usage to their three-year daily average, so they can see if they are on track to earn full or partial bill credits. Through Facebook, customers can conveniently view their savings performance and write posts about it on their Wall. The app is available at www.pge.com/wintergassavings and www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.

“Through our new Progress Tracker app, we have made it easier for customers to see how their conservation efforts are creating extra savings opportunities this winter,” said Steven Malnight, PG&E’s vice president of Customer Energy Solutions. “By making the tracker available within Facebook, we are bringing personal energy consumption data to customers in a friendly environment, helping to make energy management a part of everyday life.”

For screenshots of the application on PG&E’s web site and on Facebook, see www.flickr.com/photos/26715412@N03/6456282205/in/photostream and www.flickr.com/photos/26715412@N03/6456291055/in/photostream.

Customers can take simple steps to reduce their gas consumption this winter:· Lower the thermostat to 68 degrees during the daytime (health permitting)· Set the water heater to 120 degrees or the "normal" setting· Wash clothes in cold water instead of hot· Open blinds and drapes on sunny days· Microwave small amounts of food instead of heating them up in the oven