by Photo courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric

According to the utility company, enrolled customers who conserved during the summer 2022 heat wave earned more than $11 million in bill credits.

''Customers receive a double benefit when they participate in Power Saver Rewards and conserve energy: 1) they can save on their energy bill and 2) they help to keep the grid reliable for all Californians on hot summer days when the grid is stressed,'' SDG&E Director of Customer Programs Hollie Bierman said. ''The grid is interconnected statewide, and we appreciate our customers' willingness to do their part to help.''

An extended heat wave in the late summer last year drove up energy demand significantly in California. The state was able to avoid rotating outages, in large part because of consumers responding to the call for conservation.

The California Independent System Operator — which manages the state's flow of electricity on high-voltage power lines — issued nine straight days of Flex Alerts, voluntary calls for conservation typically issued during peak hours in the afternoon to reduce overall power consumption.

According to SDG&E, a Power Saver Rewards event may be called any day of the week from 4 to 9 p.m., May through October. When such an event is called, customers who lower their energy use below their typical use during the hours of 4 to 9 p.m. can earn a bill credit of $2 per kWh on their next month's bill. There is no cap on the rewards.

The program is voluntary and participants are not penalized if they do not reduce energy usage. Residential customers served by a Community Choice Aggregation or Direct Access program are eligible to participate. Participants must be residential electric customers with a smart meter within SDG&E's service territory and not taking part in other SDG&E energy conservation incentive programs such as AC Saver, Capacity Bidding or a third-party program.

The Power Saver Rewards Program was initiated by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2022 to ''strengthen summer reliability'' statewide. More than 570,000 SDG&E customers were automatically enrolled in the program.

Residential customers can apply for Power Saver Rewards at or by calling 866-291-9516.

Commercial customers are encouraged to enroll in the Emergency Load Reduction program, which is similar to Power Saver Rewards and has no penalties. In 2023, all businesses are eligible to participate, as the minimum energy reduction required to qualify for bill credits has been reduced from 50 kW to1 kW.

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