May 25, 2017 02:59 PM PST
SINCE 2007

Saving money on utilities & understanding local utilities rates

How customers can save money on utility fees, alongside special programs that help diverse/immigrant, underserved, elderly, low-income individuals or families, as well as those with disabilities.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced key programs, rebates and other options that can help PG&E customers save money and energy this summer. With these offerings, customer can do their part for climate changes and cleaner air by reducing their energy waste.

Through energy efficiency programs and much more, PG&E supports California’s ambitious clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change and improve air quality. Last year, PG&E customers saved $227 million on their energy bills through energy efficiency programs.

This summer, PG&E encourages customers to take advantage of the various programs, tools and tips available to save energy and lower their electric bills when it gets hot.

“As we head into summer, we want to remind customers about the many ways they can save energy as temperatures start to rise from now through October.”

“Because PG&E is committed to ensuring affordability for our customers, we encourage them to save energy at home and work. By choosing from the many programs and tools PG&E offers, customers can take control of how much energy they use, and save money at the same time,” said Vincent Davis, PG&E’s Senior Director of Energy Efficiency Programs, Policy and Strategy.

Customers can consider the following energy efficiency options to help save energy this summer and year-round:

• Start your summer off right: Sign up for My Account on to stay on top of your energy usage and monthly statement. Be sure to review the different rates to make sure you’re on the option that works best for you and your family. Contact PG&E on our dedicated rates hotline at 1-800-743-0514with any questions.

• Know where you stand: Ensure energy efficiency at home with a free Home Energy Checkup. This simple web-based assessment allows customers to find out how much of their household’s energy goes to heating, hot water, appliances, and lighting, and receive a customized list of tips to boost energy efficiency within their home.

• Take control of your bills: During the summer, more energy is used with kids at home and air-conditioning needed around the clock in hot climate areas. By signing up for PG&E’s newly improved Energy Alerts, customers can better manage their summer bills and avoid being surprised by a high energy statement.

• Before you cool down, get a checkup: Customers who sign up for the SmartAC program receive a $50 incentive for participating in this easy and automated program that helps prevent power interruptions during high-usage times like the hottest summer days. New this year, customers enrolled in the program receive a free AC Check Up from a SmartACtechnician to make sure equipment is running smoothly to avoid wasting energy. Up to 50 percent of home energy spending goes to heating and cooling, so a healthy AC reduces your home’s electricity usage and costs.

• Be rewarded for buying energy efficient appliances: PG&E Marketplace is a one stop shop for all energy saving appliances and consumer electronics – including those that offer customers money back via a rebate. Customers can receive a rebate of up to $150 by buying energy efficient clothes washers and explore Advanced LED lighting options, which use 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.

• Cool down in your community to stay refreshed: PG&E’s Cooling Center Program, in partnership with local counties, offers customers a cool place to go during times of extreme heat. Find a location online at or by calling 1-877-474-3266.

• Swim to more energy savings: Pools are a great way to keep cool over the summer, but pool pumps often consume the most energy in a home. PG&E offers a $100 Pool Pump Rebate to help customers with pools save energy with a more energy efficient pump, which can save customers up to $1,000 in energy costs per year.

• Save both energy and water: With California still experiencing severe drought despite recent rains. The PG&E Simple Savings Kit offers residential gas and electric customers an easy and affordable way to save water and energy. The kit includes efficiency-boosting products that are easily incorporated into customers’ homes to help reduce energy and water waste – including a high-efficiency shower head, two bath faucet aerators, two LED light bulbs and more. For only $10 (a $70 retail value), customers can save on bills and help to promote sustainability.
For more tips on what you can do in your home this summer, For more information, visit

Recology is San Francisco’s recycling company. It is an employee-owned company based in San Francisco. Minna Tao, general manager of Recology Golden Gate discussed different programs that make recycling easy and convenient for customers.

Recology also encourage low - income customer to apply for Lifeline Rates that offer discounts.

Tao, mentioned that San Francisco, has the highest recycling rate in the country.

and recently San Francisco Supervisors set a a goal to achieve zero waste by 2020.

In support of that objective Recology provides more than 20 separate and distinct recycling programs in San Francisco.

1. PERFECTLY GOOD (REUSE PROGRAM): Recology employee-owners pull items in good condition from loads brought to the transfer station by small contractors and self-haulers and send them to a repair facility where they are reconditioned and then delivered to thrift stores.

2. COMMINGLED RECYCLING. Curbside collection (blue bin) for all bottles, cans, paper, and rigid plastics (cups, tubs, lids, buckets, and toys without wires or metal parts).

3. COMPOST COLLECTION: Curbside collection (green bin) for good scraps, soiled paper, and plants.

4. RECYCLEMY JUNK.COM (BULKY ITEMS): Special collections for bulky items such as furniture, appliances, scrap metal, wood, cardboard, and electronics. Residents can call to schedule the service.

5. CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION DEBRIS RECYCLING: As buildings are constructed, remodeled or demolished, metal, wood, sheetrock, rigid plastic, and other construction materials are captured in debris boxes on site then taken to Recology’s construction debris recycling facility for sorting.

6. MATTRESS RECYCLING: Mattresses from residents, hotels, and designated collection trucks are loaded into trailers at the transfer station and transported to a local company specializing in mattress recycling.

7. CLEAN TEAM SATURDAYS. These special events in each of the city’s 11 districts allow residents to drop off items too big to fit in the regular bins.

8. E-WASTE RECYCLING. Most electronic waste is banned from landfill in California. Fluorescent tubes, monitors, TVs, computers, and other electronics are collected from drop-off locations, curbside collection appointments, and the transfer station then shipped to facilities specializing in recycling specific types of e-waste.

9. SELF-HAUL RECYCLING. Recology operates a special sorting line to recycle wood, metal, rigid plastic and other construction and demolition materials brought to the transfer station by small contractors and people completing big cleaning projects.

10. HOUSEHOLD BATTERY RECYCLING. Customers place batteries in zip-lock bags and place them on top of their (black) landfill bins. Collectors at the transfer station put the batteries into containers that are shipped to facilities specializing in battery recycling.

11. PAINT, MOTOR OIL, HOUSEHOLD CLEANING, GARDENING PRODUCTS: San Francisco residents can take such items to the Hazardous Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility or even make an appointment for a special pickup. All material collected through this program is identified and sorted by type and most of it is reused or recycled.

12. COMMERCIAL WOOD, SCRAP METAL, AND LARGE PLASTIC RECYCLING: Broken pallets from warehouses, wood scraps from cabinetmakers, and car doors and bumpers from auto shops are collected, sorted, and recycled.

13. TOILET RECYCLING: We collect old toilets and pull them from the waste stream. We then transfer them to a company that specializes in porcelain recycling. Prior to shipment we remove toilet seats and lids and bale them with other rigid plastic for recycling.

14. SUSTAINABLE CRUSHING: Recycles concrete, bricks, and asphalt rubble from large construction, road replacement, and earthquake retrofit projects in the Bay Area.

15. SPECIAL EVENT RECYCLING: Recology provides recycling and compost collection services to neighborhood festivals and major functions such as the Chinese New Year Parade.

16. TIRE RECYCLING. Used tires are handled separately at the transfer station and then taken to a company that shreds and recycles the rubber.

17. BUY-BACK CENTERS: We operate buy-back centers for customers who want to bring in bottles and cans for deposit redemption.

18. WINDOW GLASS RECYCLING: Glass from window shops and commercial customers is collected.

19. CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING: Trees collected separately from other material the first two weeks of January, chipped, and used as boiler fuel at waste to energy facilities.

20. STYROFOAM DROP-OFF: Residents and businesses can drop off Styrofoam at the transfer station for recycling. Recology San Francisco operates a special densifierthat condenses loose pieces of Styrofoam into ingots, which are recycled into base boards and moldings. For more information please visit

California Water Service
Yvonne Kingman of San Jose-based California Water Service, discussed the overview of how Cal Water rates are set and the requirements involved in providing a safe and reliable water supply.

California Water service (Cal Water) is the largest investor-owned American water utility west of the Mississippi River and the third largest publicly traded in the country. Formed in 1926 and based in San Jose, Cal Water serves 480,300 customers through 28 Customers and Operations Centers throughout the state.

Every three years, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires and conducts rigorous review of Cal Water’s operations, finances, costs, and needed water system improvements to ensure that the water utility rates paid by Cal Water customers accurately reflect the cost of providing safe and reliable water service.

Cal Water’s rates are set by the CPUC, an independent third party.

“Our mission and our promise to our customers is to provide quality, service and value ,high quality water, excellent customer service, excellent field service and a good value”, Kingman added.

For water rate questions or other inquiries, visit Cal Water online at

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or PUC) is a regulatory agency that regulates privately owned public utilities in the state of California, including electric power,telecommunications, natural gas and water companies.In addition, the CPUC regulates common carriers, including household goods movers, passenger transportation companies (like limousine services) and rail crossing safety.

The CPUC’s job is to protect customers and ensure the rates are fair and reasonable.

Cody Naylor, Local Government/Stakeholder Liaison, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), said, that they had team of 5 votes on a commission to work very specifically in the communities through out the state to serve of low -income and community based organization. For more information please visit