December 2011 Bill Inserts
Each month, PG&E offers important information on rebates, saving energy and safety in printed inserts that accompany your bill. Now, access this information online whenever you wish.
- Save two ways with Winter Gas Savings.Conserving gas this winter can really pay off.
- SAVE ON MONTHLY GAS COSTS
- GET UP TO A 20% BONUS CREDIT
From December 1 through January 31, when you reduce your gas usage you can save two ways. First, you’ll save on your monthly gas costs. Second, you’ll get a bonus credit of up to 20% on your bill. You’re automatically enrolled.
Simply turning down the thermostat one degree can save you up to ﬁve percent on your energy costs. Discover a whole range of ways to lower your gas costs, from closing the drapes at night, to upgrading to energy-efﬁcient appliances.
Visit www.pge.com/wintercredit for tips and tools to help you maximize your savings.
- Natural gas safety: Important things to knowThere’s safety in knowledge. Natural gas is one of the most efficient, reliable and affordable sources of energy. Delivering it safely is PG&E’s highest responsibility.
Before digging on your property, know what’s below. Call 811 at least two days prior to starting work.
Visit www.pge.com/pipelinesafety, call us at 1-888-743-7431 or keep reading for more information.
Gas pipeline locations
PG&E offers a comprehensive online map at www.pge.com/pipelinelocations. You can view any location in our service area—your home, place of work or any other areas of interest—to see which transmission pipelines run nearby. Also, the National Pipeline Mapping System, www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/PublicViewer/, shows the location of liquid fuel and natural gas pipelines across the country, viewable by county.
Spot the signs of trouble
PG&E regularly inspects all of our pipelines to check for possible leaks or other signs of damage. As an additional safety precaution, we also add a sulfur-like odor to natural gas. If you smell this distinctive “rotten egg” odor, move to a safe location and immediately call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
But don’t rely on your nose alone. Other signs of a possible gas leak can include dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area. And always pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground.
In case of emergency
If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately and move to a safe location. Then call 911 to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Warn others nearby to stay away from the area. Until you are a safe distance away, do not light a match or operate any device that might create a spark, including electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions and garage door openers.
Before you dig, know what’s below
Damage from excavation is a common cause of pipeline accidents. That’s why you must always call 811 at least two working days before you dig—even in your own yard. Underground Service Alert (USA) is a free service that will notify underground utility operators in the area of your planned work. PG&E will then locate and mark our underground gas and electric facilities.
Always be aware of pipeline markers that indicate the need for extra care around a high-volume transmission line. These markers specify the approximate location, but not all pipelines follow a straight path between markers. If you or your contractor accidently digs into a gas pipeline, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish any fire.
Safety is PG&E’s highest responsibility
We monitor our gas pipeline operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we conduct regular inspections and surveys on pipelines.
To find out more about our comprehensive safety and monitoring program, visit www.pge.com/pipelinesafety.
If you have additional questions, or would like more information, please contact us at the numbers below:
For assistance in English please call 1-888-743-7431
Para ayuda en español por favor llame al 1-800-660-6789
Kung kailangang makipag-usap sa nakakasalita ng Tagalog, tumawag sa
- Natural gas customers: Please read this important gas safety informationAs a natural gas pipeline operator, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is responsible for maintaining its natural gas lines up to the gas service delivery point, or the point where our piping connects to a customer's gas pipes. Typically, this is near the gas meter, where the meter "tee" connects to pipes leading into a building (or if there is no building, to the fence or wall enclosing gas-fired equipment).
PG&E does not maintain any natural gas lines beyond the gas service delivery point. Gas pipelines beyond this point are normally owned by the customer*, so inspecting and keeping up this piping is your responsibility. Examples of this piping include any buried pipe from the gas service delivery point to your house or appliances or from your house to a swimming pool heater, spa or other buildings. Please refer to the diagram below for more detail.
Damage from excavation is a common cause of pipeline accidents. That's why you must always call 811 at least two working days before you dig-even in your own yard. Underground Service Alert (USA) is a free service that will notify underground utility operators in the area of your planned work. PG&E will then locate and mark our underground gas and electric facilities.
Natural gas piping should be inspected periodically for leaks and, if it's metallic, for corrosion. If you find evidence of corrosion to metallic piping, you should contact a licensed contractor to correct the problem.
If you suspect a gas leak:
- Leave the area immediately and move to a safe location.
- Then, dial 911 and call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- Warn others nearby to stay away from the area.
- If gas is burning, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish the fire.
- Until you are a safe distance away, do not light a match or operate any device that might create a spark, including electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions and garage door openers.
If you have questions about gas pipeline safety, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
*"Customer" refers to the owner of the gas piping system served by PG&E. This may be either the property owner or another party who owns the gas piping.
- Understanding electric and magnetic fields (EMF)Questions have been raised about the possible health effects of 60-hertz (power frequency) electric and magnetic fields (EMF*), which are found wherever you have electric power. This information will help you understand the EMF issue, plus practical tips you can use if you want to reduce your exposure at home and at work.
Campos Eléctricos y Magnéticos (EMF): Si desea recibir información en español, comuníquese con Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) al 1-800-660-6789.
Can EMF harm your health?
Electric and magnetic fields are present wherever electricity flows—around appliances and power lines, and in offices, schools and homes. Many researchers believe that if there is a risk of adverse health effects from usual residential exposures to EMF, it is probably just at the detection limit of human health studies; nonetheless, the possible risk warrants further investigation. The varying results from epidemiological studies, which looked at estimated EMF exposures and childhood leukemia, are consistent with a weak link. Laboratory studies and studies investigating a possible mechanism for health effects (mechanistic studies) provide little or no evidence to support this weak link.
The results from many research studies have been evaluated by international, national and California EMF research programs to determine whether EMF poses any health risk. Given the uncertainty of the issue, the medical and scientific communities have been unable to conclude that usual residential exposures to EMF cause health effects, or to establish any standard or level of residential exposure that is known to be either safe or harmful. These conclusions remain unchanged by recent studies.
World Health Organization findings
The World Health Organization (WHO) completed a review of the potential health implications of extremely low frequency (ELF) EMF, which includes power-frequency fields. Their conclusions and recommendations were presented in June 2007 in a report known as the Extremely Low Frequency Fields, Environmental Health Criteria Monograph No. 238.
The WHO report concluded that evidence for a link between ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukemia “is not strong enough to be considered causal but sufficiently strong to remain a concern.” “Virtually all of the laboratory evidence and the mechanistic evidence fail to support” this reported association. For all other diseases, there is inadequate or no evidence of health effects at low exposure levels.
The report emphasized that, given the weakness of the evidence for health effects, the health benefits of exposure reduction are unclear and adopting policies based on arbitrary low exposure limits is not warranted. In light of this situation, WHO made these and other recommendations:
- National authorities should implement communication programs with all stakeholders to enable informed decision-making, including how individuals can reduce their own exposure.
- Policy makers and community planners should implement very low-cost measures to reduce exposures when constructing new facilities and designing new equipment, including appliances.
- Policy makers should establish guidelines for ELF field exposure for both the general public and workers. The best source of guidance for both exposure levels and the principles of scientific review are the international guidelines.
- Government and industry should promote research to reduce the uncertainty of the scientific evidence on the health effects of ELF field exposure. Several recommended research projects are already under way through the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), of which PG&E is a member.
To view the full report and a fact sheet summarizing it, visit:
What you can do
In a situation of scientific uncertainty and public concern, WHO recommended that utilities explore “very low-cost” ways to reduce EMF exposure from new or upgraded facilities. PG&E and other California public utilities have been pursuing no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce EMF levels from new utility transmission lines and substation projects. You, too, may want to take no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce your EMF exposure at home and at work.
Human studies have not produced a consensus about any health benefits from changing the way people use electric appliances. But, if you feel reducing your EMF exposure would be beneficial, you can increase your distance from electric appliances and/or limit the amount of time you use appliances at home or at work.
For instance, you can place phone answering machines and electric clocks away from the head of your bed. Increasing your distance from these and other appliances such as televisions, computer monitors and microwave ovens can reduce your EMF exposure.
You can also reduce your EMF exposure by limiting the time you spend using personal appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, heating pads and electric blankets. You may also want to limit the time you spend using electric cooking appliances.
You can locate the sources of EMF in your work environment, and spend break time in lower-field areas.
It is not known whether such actions will have any impact on your health.
For more information
Contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 for a free information package or home or business measurements.
Additional information is also available at these links:
World Health Organization International EMF Project: www.who.int/peh-emf/en/
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/
California Department of Health Services: www.ehib.org/emf/
California Public Utilities Commission: www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Environment/ElectroMagnetic+Fields/action.htm
*The term EMF in this publication refers to extremely low frequency (ELF) 60-hertz electric and magnetic fields associated with power delivered by electric utilities. It does not refer to radio frequency (RF) waves associated with wireless communications such as cell phones.
Reviewed by: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
- Notification of PG&E's Application to Recover Costs for the Adoption of Its Smart Grid Pilot Deployment Program (A.11-11-017)What is the Smart Grid Application?
In October of 2009, the California legislature signed Senate Bill (SB)17 into law. SB 17 states that "it is the policy of the state to modernize the state's electrical transmission and distribution system to maintain safe, reliable, efficient, and secure electrical service, with infrastructure that can meet future growth in demand." Pursuant to SB 17, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Decision 10-06-047, instructing California’s energy utilities to file applications submitting their Smart Grid Deployment Plans.
On November 21, 2011, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed application No. 11-11-017 (Smart Grid Application) with the CPUC. In the Smart Grid Application, PG&E is requesting authorization to implement six Smart Grid initiatives from 2013 through 2016, at a cost of $109 million. These six initiatives are part of the PG&E Smart Grid Deployment Plan and involve activities aimed at:
- Improving the reliability and flexibility of PG&E's electric distribution system, including installing line sensors to reduce outage response times and increase accuracy in identifying outages.
- Enhancing the efficiency of PG&E's operations through more accurate demand forecasting.
- Advancing PG&E's capabilities for evaluating and testing new technology.
- Educating customers on the smart grid and the benefits of its capabilities by incorporating the experiences of other utilities into PG&E's customer education plans.
Will electric rates increase?
Yes, if approved, this request would result in a slight increase of less than one percent to electric rates for bundled service customers1 and for direct access and community choice aggregation customers2. The increase in rates resulting from this application will be spread over a four-year period and will not appear in customer bills until 2013. Using the highest single year revenue requirement of $25.138 million, the bundled system average rate increase will be 0.2 percent, relative to current rates.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
To request a copy of the application and exhibits or for more details, call PG&E at
1-800-743-5000. For TDD/TTY (speech-hearing impaired), call 1-800-652-4712.
You may request a copy of the application and exhibits by writing to:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Smart Grid Application
P.O. Box 7442, San Francisco, CA 94120
THE CPUC PROCESS
The CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) will review this application.
The DRA is an independent arm of the CPUC, created by the Legislature to represent the interests of all utility customers throughout the state and obtain the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels. The DRA has a multi-disciplinary staff with expertise in economics, finance, accounting and engineering. The DRA’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the CPUC. Other parties of record may also participate.
The CPUC may hold evidentiary hearings where parties of record present their proposals in testimony and are subject to cross-examination before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). These hearings are open to the public, but only those who are parties of record may present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during evidentiary hearings. Members of the public may attend, but not participate in, these hearings.
After considering all proposals and evidence presented during the hearing process, the ALJ will issue a draft decision. When the CPUC acts on this application, it may adopt all or part of PG&E's request, amend or modify it, or deny the application. The CPUC’s final decision may be different from PG&E's application.
If you would like to learn how you can participate in this proceeding or if you have comments or questions, you may contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor as follows:
Public Advisor's Office
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
1-415-703-2074or 1-866-849-8390(toll free)
1-415-703-5282or 1-866-836-7825(toll free)
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are writing a letter to the Public Advisor's Office, please include the number of the application (11-11-017) to which you are referring. All comments will be circulated to the Commissioners, the assigned Administrative Law Judge and the Energy Division staff.
A copy of PG&E's Smart Grid Application and exhibits are also available for review at the California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon and on the CPUC’s website at www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc. (make live)
1 Bundled service customers are defined as those customers who receive electric generation, transmission and distribution service from PG&E.
2 Direct access and community choice aggregation customers are defined as those customers who purchase electricity from non-PG&E suppliers, but receive transmission and distribution service from PG&E.