The $1 billion invested annually in energy efficiency programs by California’s largest utilities have saved customers $850 million on their energy bills over the last two years, after accounting for costs, according to the National Resources Defense Council.
The energy savings are enough to power all of the homes in Fresno County, according to the NRDC blog.
This puts California on track to avoid the construction of 10 power plants over the next 20 years, but the state’s utilities can be, and are, doing more, according to the blog.
Unsurprisingly, different utilities use different techniques to promote energy efficiency. Pacific Gas & Electric, for example, provides personalized “Business Energy Reports” as well as “how to” videos (one, pictured) to teach customers how to better manage their own energy use.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District provides a “Home Energy Calculator” to help homeowners and renters figure out where their energy and dollars are going.
Private utilities – such as PG&E, SCE, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas – help homeowners and renters save energy and money through a suite of Statewide Residential Energy Efficiency Programs. These programs provide rebates for efficient appliances and heating systems, and offer tips on how to change behaviors to reduce energy use and make homes more comfortable, according to the NRDC.
For example, the City of Palo Alto’s Refrigerator Recycling Program offers incentives to replace what could be one of the highest energy users in the home and provides free water and energy conserving measures to eligible multi-family buildings, the blog says.
In March, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Stem, a Millbrae, Calif.-based energy technology company, announced a pilot project to study the impact of high-penetration solar photovoltaics on the grid. The two-year pilot will use Stem’s data collection, cloud-based power system analytics and intelligent energy storage to help the utility determine the amount of PVs that can be added to a distribution feeder while maintaining grid stability and power quality.