Ann Kelly: Put a Little 'Pep' in your Business
The San Francisco Department of the Environment's first-of-its-kind partnership with PG&E will help businesses reduce their electricity bills. The San Francisco Peak Energy Program - or SFPEP - was set up in support of the City's efforts to improve electric reliability and close down the Hunters Point Power Plant. One cost-effective and environmentally-sound way this can be accomplished is by cutting energy use during peak hours.
Unlike much of the rest of the state, San Francisco experiences a peak demand for electricity during winter evenings as well as the occasional hot summer afternoon.
If you take a look at the big energy users in San Francisco, skyscrapers and large department stores surely come to mind. But there are many other smaller businesses with high electric bills, like restaurants, grocery stores and markets. These customers often don't take advantage of rebate programs because they don't have energy experts on staff that can determine their needs. That's where SFPEP comes in. SF Environment and PG&E have designed the program especially for these San Francisco businesses and their unique needs.
With SFPEP, we have developed a set of cash rebates that complement all other statewide rebates currently offered by PG&E and bring the San Francisco business owner a great opportunity to "cash-in" on efficiency improvements. Here's how it works:
When we get a call from an interested business owner, we are ready to help that owner make energy efficiency a reality in their place of business.
The first step is to take a few moments with one of our staff and discuss the facility - whether they own or rent, what kind of business they run or what their hours are - and possible areas where electricity is most heavily used. We will then schedule one of our engineers to come out and take a thorough look at their "electricity loads" - the equipment that is drawing electricity, like lighting and refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and food service equipment.
After these have been identified, a report is created and given to the business owner so they can see what they can do to become more energy efficient, how much money in PG&E-SFPEP rebates they will receive if they elect to do the work and how much they will expect to save on their electricity bills. SFPEP can also help fill out paperwork and identify contractors that the business owner can contact. This is all at no cost to the customer.
SF Environment recently completed a program called Power Savers that conducted energy efficiency retrofits at 4,000 San Francisco small businesses. The program saved more than six megawatts of electricity - enough to power 12,000 households. The goal for SFPEP is to save another 16 megawatts.
If you are interested in contacting The City's Environment Department, call the SFPEP hotline at (415) 355-3769 or visit the website at www.sfenvironment.com and follow the links to the Peak Energy Program. You can also visit PG&E online at pge.com/sfpep.
The public-serviceprogram is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Ann Kelly is a senior energy specialist at SF Environment, where she manages the SFPEP program. Learn more about how SF Environment is protecting and preserving the City's environment at www.sfenvironment.com, visit the EcoCenter at 11 Grove St. or call (415) 355-3700.