"Energy Efficiency is at the heart of energy affordability." Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation


New Report Finds Energy Efficiency Programs Generated $53.8 Million in Tax Revenue

By Justine Brown

SAN FRANCISCO – A recently released report found that PG&E’s customer energy efficiency programs in 2012 led to a total annual economic impact of close to 7,700 jobs, $452.4 million of labor income and $53.8 million of state and local tax revenue.

The report might be one of the first in the nation to focus specifically on the economic impact of customer energy efficiency programs. The report, titled “Economic Contributions of Pacific Gas and Electric Company,” was prepared by the Center for Strategic Economic Research and released in February 2014.

“Energy efficiency is an important part of PG&E’s core business and the company invests significantly in a diverse range of programs and services designed to help its customers save energy and money,” said Michelle Patrick, a member of PG&E’s corporate sustainability team and the lead for the report. “Reports conducted in the past have contained forecasts around energy efficiency and its impacts, but we haven’t found any reports that look back at the actual financial impacts of those actions.”

The study also examined the “multiplier effect” of customer energy efficiency programs. The multiplier effect accounts for the full range of economic impacts resulting from program spending and the insertion of bill savings from avoided energy use back into the economy.

“We found that every dollar associated with PG&E’s customer energy efficiency programs supported another 80 cents of output in the economy,” said Patrick. “When customers spend less on their utility bills that extra money goes into their discretionary income. They probably save a piece of that, but they spend a piece of it as well. The report found that the money customers are saving is staying local and it’s supporting other businesses.”

Jarred Olsen, economic development analyst for the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County, a local government PG&E partner, said he’s witnessed improvements in the employment outlook in his county firsthand. He credits energy efficiency gains for part of this improvement.

Fresno Energy Watch, a partnership between PG&E, the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County, and the city of Fresno, is helping local businesses save on energy costs, which for some businesses has translated to additional resources available to spend on employees. Through Fresno Energy Watch, PG&E will perform a no-cost assessment on a business’ facility to help identify areas for energy efficiency improvements. A zero-down, zero-interest loan is also available to help businesses pay for retrofits.

“Companies that have done the free assessments and conducted retrofits to improve energy efficiency have seen significant savings per month,” said Olsen. “It’s often enough to turn a part time employee into a fulltime employee, or to hire another employee altogether.”

The focus on the impact of PG&E’s energy efficiency efforts was part of a larger report, “Economic Contributions of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.” Among the findings of that report:

  • PG&E contributed $22.2 billion of economic activity and supported nearly 71,600 jobs in its service area in 2012.
  • PG&E economic contributions in 2012 also included $5.8 billion in labor income and $3.4 billion of state and local taxes.
  • PG&E’s impact exceeded other industries such as software publishing, wineries and scientific research and development services.
  • The impact is distributed across all of PG&E’s service area as the economic output ranges between $4.1 billion and $6.6 billion in each of the company’s four regions (Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley and Northern).

To view the complete report, visit http://www.pgecurrents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/pge-impacts-report_final.pdf

Email Currents at currents@pge.com.