SDG&E offers cold-weather tips for saving energy, money

Dec 4, 2006

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066

www.sdge.com

 

        SAN DIEGO, Dec. 4, 2006 - With the approaching winter, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) officials are offering a number of tips for staying warm and energy efficient at the same time:

        “Home heating and water heating make up about 85 percent of winter natural gas use,” said Michelle Mueller, vice president of customer services for SDG&E.   “The best way to reduce winter gas bills is to conserve energy.”

        •  When using the home furnace, lower the thermostat 3 degrees to 5 degrees (health permitting) and turn it off when not at home.  This can help save up to 20 percent on heating costs.

        •  Up to 40 percent of a home’s heat loss takes place due to inadequate attic and wall insulation.  Upgrade insulation to save up to 25 percent on heating costs.

        •  Have air ducts tested for leaks.  Seal any leaks and save up to 20 percent on winter heating costs.

        •  Check the furnace filter monthly and clean or replace it, per manufacturer’s recommendations, to save up to 2 percent on heating costs.

        •  Caulk and weather-strip drafty doors and windows to save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

        •  Use an extra blanket and turn down the furnace thermostat at night as the weather turns cooler.

        •  Use cold or cool water when washing clothes to save up to 10 percent on hot-water costs.

        •  Run the dishwasher only when full.

        SDG&E offers rebates on qualified high-efficiency water heaters, attic and wall insulation and other home-improvement items.  Energy-efficiency program information and applications are available at www.sdge.com.

        Mueller said customers should be aware that unpredictable severe cold weather in the United States can boost natural gas demand and prices and, consequently, customer bills.

        Residential customers of SDG&E can expect average winter heating costs to be about $60 to $65, as compared with $74 last winter, for 50 therms of natural gas.  The combined monthly energy bill for a typical residential customer is likely to be about $133 to $135, as compared with $143 last year, based on 50 therms of gas usage and 500 kWh of electricity usage. 

        SDG&E customers living in apartments will see average monthly heating costs for 25 therms of natural gas of about $30, as compared with $36, and small businesses that use 300 therms of natural gas per month, will see an average monthly gas cost of $350, as compared with $429 last winter.

        For eligible customers with limited income, SDG&E offers a 20-percent rate discount on monthly gas bills through the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program and free energy-saving home improvements, including repair or replacement of qualifying home furnaces, through the Energy Team. 

        For more information on conservation and simple home improvement tips, as well as energy-efficiency rebates and assistance programs, customers should visit SDG&E’s Web site at www.sdge.com, or call SDG&E toll-free at (800) 411-SDGE (7433). 

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.

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