Mayor Gavin Newsom Announces $11.5 Million Energy Efficiency Program

(February 6, 2007)


Program Promotes Conservation and Combats Climate Change through Education and Incentives

SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Newsom today announced that the Department of the Environment (SF Environment), in partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), has entered into a contract to fund the Energy Watch Program - an effort to deliver savings and energy efficiency education to residential and commercial energy consumers in San Francisco. Running through 2008, the program will help the city to save millions and combat climate change.

The Department of the Environment will partner with independent contractors to provide small businesses and multi-family residential buildings in all San Francisco neighborhoods with free on-site assessments of energy savings. This will include: cost effective direct installation of energy efficient lighting, refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning systems. In addition, the program will offer options for natural gas use reduction, incentive programs, training, education, and technical assistance for small businesses and residential customers.

"Energy efficiency is a top priority for meeting San Francisco's environmental goals," said Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco. "I am proud that our city supports and continues to develop innovative ways to reduce consumption and improve standards for the health, well being and future of San Francisco."

The program is designed to reduce residential and non-residential electricity consumption by 43 million kilowatt hours, and reduce natural gas consumption in multi-family residences by 335 thousand therms, equating to an estimated savings of over $6,500,000 in energy bills yearly.

The program is funded through the Public Goods Charge, a fee charged monthly by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which is administered locally by PG&E. The Department of the Environment will perform all the services for businesses and residents, and then be reimbursed by PG&E. The CPUC has budgeted a total of $11,538,953 for the program, with $10,700,000 to underwrite all the services that the Department of the Environment will perform. The remainder of the funds will be used to underwrite PG&E's programs, which are targeted towards mid-sized businesses.

"With a shared commitment to making this the greenest city in the nation, we're thrilled to partner with San Francisco on the Energy Watch Program," said Helen Burt, senior vice president of customer care at PG&E. "We look forward to partnering with San Francisco to help our customers develop innovative energy efficiency programs that reduce energy use and combat climate change."

Under the Energy Watch Program, the Department of the Environment will act as an energy service provider to customers by identifying the full range of potential energy upgrades to their property. Customers can take advantage of affordable incentive measures right now, while remaining eligible for further upgrades during the course of the program. This comprehensive approach will help customers save money and energy, increase their knowledge of conservation techniques, and reduce marketing costs by allowing the Department of the Environment to maintain contact after the initial response.

The Energy Watch program also brings San Francisco closer to its goal of becoming the nation's greenest city by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2004, Mayor Newsom announced his Climate Action Plan, which commits the city to reducing greenhouse gas emission levels by 20% below 1990 levels by the year 2012, and outlines next steps in key target areas including transportation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and solid waste management. San Francisco has already started working towards these goals by implementing one of the largest alternative fuel fleets in the nation, including electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas and biodiesel vehicles. For more information about Mayor Newsom's Climate Action Plan and the city's other environmental initiatives, please visit

For more information about signing up for the program, businesses and owners of multi-family buildings can call the Power Watch Hotline at: 415-355-3769.