Ways to save as gas prices increase globally

Woman using a calculator

As temperatures start to drop, natural gas usage tends to go up. Finding ways to lower usage is more important than ever now that natural gas prices are going up across the country. What is driving gas prices to go up? The increase in price is primarily driven by:

  1. Overall economic recovery in the U.S.
  2. Increased gas usage this summer for electric generation driven by high temperatures and low hydroelectric generation levels
  3. Rising natural gas exports to Europe and Asia (those markets are experiencing their own supply constraints)
  4. Supply disruptions in the gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Ida, and other factors

As a result, in October, there have been customer price increases driven by the costs for PG&E to purchase natural gas (the price of the commodity). This is a North America issue; it is not specific to California. The only part of the rate that is increasing from September is the price of the commodity we buy to serve our customers. This cost is 100% pass through – meaning PG&E does not mark up this cost.

We take a number of steps to reduce the impact of volatile gas prices for our customers. These include:

  1. Using gas storage to procure gas during times of lower prices for use later
  2. Contracting for pipeline access to several gas production basins to access lower priced gas
  3. Engaging in financial hedging to limit the impact of price volatility on our customers

Here are ways to lower your usage in time for the winter season and make a positive impact on your business's bottom line.

Start with simple steps

Make an immediate difference in your energy costs with these easy changes:

  • Turn off equipment when not in use.
  • Verify that the timed settings on your heating and air conditioning system match when your building is in use.
  • Lower the thermostat on your furnace by one degree and save up to 3% in energy usage.
  • Close curtains, shades and blinds at night, on weekends and all times when your building is unoccupied.

Find quick energy-saving fixes

Use this checklist when planning for upgrades:

  • Add weather stripping, caulking or foam insulation around windows and doors to help reduce drafts.
  • Caulk ducts, plumbing openings, recessed lighting fixtures and other spaces that leak air into walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Upgrade to products with the ENERGY STAR® label.
  • Ensure that the furnace damper works correctly to avoid heating cold, outside air.

Plan for big energy-saver projects

Start budgeting for energy-saver projects:

  • Hire a contractor to check your central heating and cooling ducts for leaks. Sealing and insulating air ducts can help improve system efficiency by up to 20%.
  • Replace windows with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR windows. Replacing windows can help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15%.
  • Fix or upgrade defective plumbing, air ducts and pipes.

Locate contractors and trade professionals

Find local trade professionals and contractors who participate in our energy-saving programs for business customers. Visit our Find a Trade Pro contractor database.