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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Offers SmartAC™ to Residential Customers in the East Bay Walnut Creek Mayor Gwen Regalia Becomes the First Bay Area Mayor to Install SmartAC Switch

Release Date: April 17, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

WALNUT CREEK - Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced the East Bay launch of SmartAC with the install of a SmartAC switch on Mayor Gwen Regalia’s home. By enrolling in the SmartAC program, the utility’s East Bay Area electric customers with central air conditioning can now participate in a simple and effective, voluntary program that helps PG&E and the State of California avoid summer heat power interruptions.

“The City of Walnut Creek is delighted that PG&E has chosen to offer SmartAC to our residents and neighboring communities,” said Walnut Creek Mayor Gwen Regalia. “With summer just around the corner, East Bay SmartAC customers will have the opportunity to help all Californians enjoy continued grid reliability with limited impact on their lifestyle.”

During those few extremely hot summer days when system demand starts to peak, PG&E can dispatch a radio signal to the tens of thousands of SmartAC devices already installed throughout the area, thereby slightly reducing the amount of electricity the air conditioners use without disturbing customer comfort. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 95 percent of customers did not even notice SmartAC activation.

The SmartAC™ technology will adjust the air conditioners power requirements intermittently over several hours during the day, only when it’s critically needed, while also ensuring that a home’s temperature remains comfortable. This small adjustment, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of air conditioners in similar programs throughout the state, can have a tremendous impact on rates, reliability and the environment without disturbing customer comfort.

“SmartAC has been an extremely successful program and we’re thrilled to be providing this energy saving option for our East Bay customers,” said Steve McCarty, director of Demand Response for PG&E. “We’re grateful for Mayor Regalia and our other SmartAC customers for their commitment to reducing energy use and to helping the state avoid power interruptions on hot days.”

In February of 2007, PG&E received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for an initial deployment phase of 5,000 units in Stockton, with the hope for full deployment throughout PG&E’s territory by 2010. The East Bay is the second region in the state, after the Central Valley, to have the opportunity to voluntarily enroll in SmartAC. PG&E hopes to enroll up to 400,000 customers in SmartAC™ by the summer of 2011, which will reduce an approximately 305 megawatts of energy load when the state needs it most.

East Bay electricity customers with air conditioners can now voluntarily enroll online at pge.com/smartac to have a SmartAC device installed on or near the air conditioner at no additional charge. Those who enroll will receive a “thank you” payment of $25 for participating. With the exception of an extreme grid emergency, customers can call or go online to opt out of SmartAC at any time, and the air conditioner will return to running as it normally would.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company and to apply for the SmartAC™ program, please visit http://www.pge-smartac.com/

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