Summer bills blues: tips for saving on energy costs

Keeping bills down as we heat up

OILDALE, Calif. - Michelle Waggoner is busy during the summer between rescuing dogs and taking care of three kids at home in Oildale.

But this month's PG&E bill shocked her.

"I about had a heart attack, I'm not even gonna lie," said Waggoner. 

Hundreds of dollars more than last month.

"Our air conditioner is set at 78 [degrees], which is OK, we've gotten used to it. We've also been since this bill doing a lot of our cooking out on our barbeque because our stove is electric, our oven is electric," explained Waggoner.

Waggoner is not alone. 

We received over 800 comments on our Facebook page with many detailing hitting PG&E's highest usage tier this summer.

PG&E spokesperson Katie Allen empathized in an interview.

"We understand their frustration when it comes to higher bills, and we truly want them to know that we are here to help," said Allen. 

Allen offered tips. For example, residents can sign up for a budgeting tool to help avoid surprise.

"You can set a dollar amount for whatever you're comfortable with or would like your PG&E bill to stay around per month. And when you get close to that dollar amount you can get a text, phone call or email alerting you of that so you can change your usage and your habits," said Allen.

Allen explains air conditioning typically accounts for 40 percent of homeowners' usage during the summer

Allen advises raising your thermostat when possible and notes closing vents in rooms you don't use will not save you money. 

"That's an energy saving myth ... because that air conditioning unit is set up to circulate in a certain manner and having all those vents open allowing even air flow allows it to work at its most efficient level," explained Allen.

PG&E suggests turning off your air conditioning if you can when you leave for work to save cash. 

If you think something is wrong with your bill, do not hesitate to reach out to 1-800-PGE-5000 for help.

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