Photo by Monique Schoenfeld, Town Crier
PG&E has a program called "Riding out Summer 2001." It's a call for action and was presented to Los Altos Village Association (LAVA) members May 16 at the Washington Mutual Bank.
The California Public Utilities Commission set new electric rates last week which will increase small commercial users' bills an average of 37 percent. Residential customers will see an average increase of 7 to 37 percent depending on usage.
"This is not a pleasant discussion," said Teresa Alvarado, PG&E representative. "We have a crisis this summer and you can make a difference by reducing 10 percent of your energy use."
Pam Stevens, PG&E account representative, offered basic suggestions.
"You can save up to 50 percent of lighting energy if you replace incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lighting," Stevens said. "Set the thermostat at 68 degrees and turn off lighting in unoccupied areas or where windows provide sufficient daylight. Set the air conditioner at 76 F and keep the blinds shut."
Stevens also suggested reducing general overhead lighting and using task lighting where needed.
Jane Bigelow, manager of the Seville Contempo Fine Homes & Estates' office, said she asked agents to bring in desk lamps as a form of saving energy.
Cynthia Eberhardt, owner of Los Altos Card and Party, started an energy conservation program early. She has turned off the overhead lights and will only keep on lights the customers need. Lights are on timers which will reduce use.
This summer Eberhardt does not intend to turn on the air conditioners. She will open the transoms and windows for breezes.
Stevens encouraged business owners to take advantage of the 20/20 rebate program offered by PG&E for customers who reduce their summer 2001 electricity usage compared with last year.
Customers can receive a rebate worth 20 percent of their total Summer 2001 electricity cost if they reduce consumption by 20 percent or more. The program is a major component of an overall integrated demand reduction program to help reduce the threat of blackouts and reduce the cost of electricity.
For more information on PG&E energy programs, call 1-800-468-4743.