To help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages this winter, Southern California Gas Co. Monday launched an energy conservation alert program designed to raise awareness about ways to reduce natural gas use during periods of cold weather this winter.
During periods of cold weather when local demand for natural gas for home heating, hot water and cooking can increase rapidly and put a strain on the natural gas system, SoCalGas will issue "Dial It Down" alerts similar to the Flex Alerts issued by the California Independent System Operator calling on customers to conserve electricity for a specific period of time.
"SoCalGas has helped pioneer conservation efforts for decades, and our efforts to date have saved our customers more than $670 million in energy costs and have reduced emissions equal to removing 700,000 cars from the road," said Dan Rendler, director of customer programs and assistance at SoCalGas. "The new Dial It Down Alerts and our ongoing work to deploy more smart thermostats across our service territory will help promote energy reliability, save customers money and reduce emissions linked to climate change."
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To initiate a Dial It Down Alert, the utility will release a media statement and deploy messages through social media and on the radio calling on customers to reduce their natural gas use during peak usage periods. When such an alert called, customers will be urged to take simple steps to reduce their natural gas use, such as:
-- setting their thermostat to 68 degrees when home and 55 degrees when away from home
-- waiting until off-peak hours to use natural gas appliances;
-- washing clothes with cold water;
-- taking shorter hot showers;
-- reducing the temperature on water heaters;
-- running only full loads of dishes and clothes;
-- using low-flow shower heads;
-- keeping windows and doors closed when the heater is on; and
-- dressing warmer.
To further encourage energy conservation this winter, the utility later this month will launch the SoCalGas Smart Therm Program in partnership with participating ENERGY STAR Certified Smart Thermostat providers. Customers who enroll in the Smart Therm Program agree to allow their smart thermostat to be automatically adjusted by up to four degrees when energy conservation is needed. In addition to the energy savings associated with the lower thermostat setting, customers who enroll in the program will receive a $50 incentive, plus an additional $25 for staying enrolled through April 1.
To enroll in the program, customers register their smart thermostats through the manufacturer's website. They are then sent notifications through their smart thermostat, smart phone app, or via email 10 to 12 hours before a Dial It Down Alert is issued, letting them know that their thermostats will be automatically adjusted.
Customers who purchase a smart thermostat can save an additional $75 by applying for a smart thermostat rebate from SoCalGas. The rebate covers models from Nest, ecobee and Honeywell, among others. To learn more or to participate in SoCalGas' Residential Rebate Program, visit socalgas.com/rebates.