FRESNO, Cali. (KGPE)- As the valley deals with extreme temperatures during a scorching September, CBS47 On Your Side finds out what you can do to save on your energy bill.
“The air conditioner accounts for about 40% of energy use during the summer each month for customers,” said PG&E Spokesperson Katie Allen.
Many valley residents use their AC even more as the state faces 9 straight days of extreme heat challenging the grid.
If you open your bill later this month and see a higher amount than you can pay, Allen said to call the utility company.
“We wanna help them get on a payment plan to enroll them in any programs they may qualify for,” said Allen.
PG&E also links long-time assistance programs for customers including for people using medical equipment and green homes that use 100% solar.
The utility also allows customers to enroll in a budget billing program that evens out their monthly bill based on estimated costs instead of paying higher bills in the winter and the summer.
New this year, the Power Saver Rewards Program awards bill credits to homes that conserve energy during peak hours.
“Customers are already doing this to help relieve the stress and the strain on the grid and reduce their home energy use, so why not receive credit at the end of the season for the hard work you are already doing?” said Allen.
Southern California Edison offers similar assistance for their customers struggling to pay their bills.
Spokesperson Ben Gallagher said customers also have the ability to enroll in volunteer energy consumption programs.
The first is for customers with smart thermostats in their homes. The energy company can adjust the temperature during a heat wave to reduce the strain on the grid. When SCE awards bill credits every time they adjust the temperature.
The second is a program where SCE installs a device on your AC unit. The company then can adjust the usage for customers during heat waves, again to reduce the strain on the grid. Customers receive bill credits.
If you decide during an extreme heat event that you do not want the program, customers have the option to override the usage manually.
“So you do maintain the control in that way it will decrease the credits you receive,” said Gallagher.